On Friday, I reported on a meta-analysis that presented evidence that working memory brain training does not transfer to other cognitive skills. The most recent issue of Personality and Individual Differences carries a paper titled: “Gray matter volumetric changes with a challenging adaptive cognitive training program based on the dual n-back task.” The n-back task is the most widely used procedure for working memory training in academic research.
Surprisingly, these results do not, necessarily, contradict each other. As noted in the abstract:
“Changes in the gray matter volume of these clusters were correlated with a) behavioral changes across the training program and b) changes in four psychological factors assessed before and after training (fluid and crystallized intelligence, working memory capacity, and attention control). None of these correlations were statistically significant, and therefore, psychological and biological changes were seen as independent.”
Since there working memory training does improve performance on the trained task, we would expect there to be some kind of measurable physical change in the brain. But this does not mean that the training effects are transferable to other cognitive domains.