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Do intensive studies of a foreign language improve associative memory performance?

Mårtensson, Johan LU and Lövdén, Martin LU (2011) In Frontiers in Psychology 2.
Abstract
Formal education has been proposed to shape life-long cognitive development. Studies reporting that gains from cognitive training transfer to untrained tasks suggest direct effects of mental activity on cognitive processing efficiency. However, associative memory practice has not been known to produce transfer effects, which is odd considering that the key neural substrate of associative memory, the hippocampus, is known to be particularly plastic. We investigated whether extremely intensive studies of a foreign language, entailing demands on associative memory, cause improvements in associative memory performance. In a pretest-training-post-test design, military conscript interpreters and undergraduate students were measured on a battery... (More)
Formal education has been proposed to shape life-long cognitive development. Studies reporting that gains from cognitive training transfer to untrained tasks suggest direct effects of mental activity on cognitive processing efficiency. However, associative memory practice has not been known to produce transfer effects, which is odd considering that the key neural substrate of associative memory, the hippocampus, is known to be particularly plastic. We investigated whether extremely intensive studies of a foreign language, entailing demands on associative memory, cause improvements in associative memory performance. In a pretest-training-post-test design, military conscript interpreters and undergraduate students were measured on a battery of cognitive tasks. We found transfer from language studies to a face-name associative-memory task, but not to measures of working memory, strategy-sensitive episodic memory, or fluid intelligence. These findings provide initial evidence suggesting that associative memory performance can be improved in early adulthood, and that formal education can have such effects. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Frontiers in Psychology
volume
2
publisher
Frontiers
external identifiers
  • pmid:21738515
  • scopus:84865089867
ISSN
1664-1078
DOI
10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00012
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
91526843-4f77-43ff-b4c0-e9b6ce718930 (old id 2058834)
date added to LUP
2011-07-27 08:10:35
date last changed
2017-05-14 03:51:50
@article{91526843-4f77-43ff-b4c0-e9b6ce718930,
  abstract     = {Formal education has been proposed to shape life-long cognitive development. Studies reporting that gains from cognitive training transfer to untrained tasks suggest direct effects of mental activity on cognitive processing efficiency. However, associative memory practice has not been known to produce transfer effects, which is odd considering that the key neural substrate of associative memory, the hippocampus, is known to be particularly plastic. We investigated whether extremely intensive studies of a foreign language, entailing demands on associative memory, cause improvements in associative memory performance. In a pretest-training-post-test design, military conscript interpreters and undergraduate students were measured on a battery of cognitive tasks. We found transfer from language studies to a face-name associative-memory task, but not to measures of working memory, strategy-sensitive episodic memory, or fluid intelligence. These findings provide initial evidence suggesting that associative memory performance can be improved in early adulthood, and that formal education can have such effects.},
  articleno    = {12},
  author       = {Mårtensson, Johan and Lövdén, Martin},
  issn         = {1664-1078},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Frontiers},
  series       = {Frontiers in Psychology},
  title        = {Do intensive studies of a foreign language improve associative memory performance?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00012},
  volume       = {2},
  year         = {2011},
}