Cogmed is the leader in evidence-based training solutions for improved cognitive performance
Cogmed Working Memory Training is a computer-based solution for attention problems caused by poor working memory. Together with qualified teams around the world, Cogmed offers a training solution for all settings.
We combine cognitive neuroscience with innovative computer game design and close professional support to deliver substantial and lasting benefits to our users.
Our solutions include easy-to-use software and personal support.
Cogmed Training Method
The Cogmed training method consists of 25 training sessions done online, each 30-45 minutes long (variations to that protocol are now available in beta). Each session consists of a selection of various tasks that target the different aspects of working memory.
The training is done online at home, in school, or at work. The standard program is five weeks long with five sessions every week, again now with variations available in beta. It is a rigorous program designed to improve working memory through intensive and systematic training. The training is available through professional channels around the world. The training is always led by a Cogmed Qualified Coach who works with the user to provide structure, motivation, and feedback on the progress.
The program is challenging and rewarding, and for the best possible training effects, sustained effort is necessary. This is why there is always a Cogmed Qualified Coach involved. Cogmed has a proven track record of providing users with excellent support and results in all settings where Cogmed is available.
Each program is proven to improve working memory and strengthen executive functions.
The training consists of a specific set of working memory tasks that are performed on a computer, at school, at home, or the user’s place of choice, where the difficulty level is adjusted according to a highly sensitive and specific algorithm.
Each user is required to complete eight exercises every day, taking about 30-45 minutes for the entire session. This is done for five days a week over five weeks (there are now variations to that protocol available in beta). During training, the user’s performance is tracked online and can be viewed by the user and his/her Cogmed Coach who communicates with the user throughout the five weeks to assist him/her through the program.
How is Cogmed Different?
As recognition that intensive training can improve important cognitive functions like attention and working memory has increased, so has the number of cognitive training programs available to choose from.
How does Cogmed Working Memory Training differ from many of these other options? Here are some key factors:
Cogmed Working Memory Training was developed by a world-renowned neuroscientist.
Our program was developed by Dr. Torkel Klingberg, a neuroscientist at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden who has received wide spread recognition for his work. You can learn about Dr. Klingberg and his work by visiting his lab web site at www.klingberglab.se.
Dr. Klingberg remains actively involved with Cogmed helping us to further refine and develop the program and conducting ongoing research on its impact.
Cogmed Working Memory Training is supported by more published research than any other cognitive training program.
No other cognitive training program has the level of research support that backs Cogmed Working Memory Training.
Research supporting Cogmed’s program has been published in the world’s leading scientific journals after undergoing a rigorous peer-review process. Published studies include several randomized, placebo-controlled trials, a type of study considered the gold standard for evaluating treatment effectiveness.
Independent research groups that have no affiliation to Cogmed have also demonstrated the value of Cogmed’s program. No other program can make this claim.
Cogmed Working Memory Training is only provided through a network of highly experienced physicians and psychologists.
The physicians and psychologists we select to offer our program are highly experienced in assisting children and adults with attention and working memory challenge. These highly experienced clinicians can identify when Cogmed Working Memory Training is an appropriate treatment option and provide a full range of evaluation and treatment services when it is not.
Many of our partner clinicians are leaders in their community for the treatment of ADHD and learning problems. Several have been elected to the CHADD Hall of Fame. CHADD is the national support organization for children and adults with ADHD and recognize scientists and clinicians whose contribution to the ADHD field warrants this honor.
Cogmed Working Memory Training is the only cognitive training program to focus exclusively on training working memory, a critically important cognitive function.
Working memory is our ability to hold information in mind and to use that information in our thinking to perform tasks. It is essential for attention and focus and plays a critical role in children’s academic achievement.
Rather than training a wide array of abilities, the entire Cogmed program is focused on training this critical cognitive function. As noted above, the existing research indicates that this intensive focus is associated with meaningful improvements.
Cogmed does not make extravagant claims.
You will never hear Cogmed making claims about curing ADHD or eliminating working memory problems. You will not hear us say that it works for everyone because it does not. The claims we make are ones that are supported by the published research and by the results obtained by professionals around the world who use our program.
Based on this research and experience, we can confidently state that approximately 80% of individuals with attention and working memory problems who complete Cogmed training will experience meaningful benefits.
Cogmed at ATA
Cogmed Working Memory Training
- Computer-based solution for attention problems caused by poor working memory.
- Cogmed offers a training solution for students with executive functioning difficulties.
- Combining cognitive neuroscience with innovative computer game design
- Close professional support to deliver substantial and lasting benefits to our users.
Contact ATA to assess if you are a candidate for this program
- Contact front office manager to set up a telephone interview
- Our program is offered in the convenience of your home with the coaching of trained personnel
- Most programs are offered over 50 sessions completed once daily for 5 days a week.
- Candidates will have an interview with their coach once weekly
- Coaches track the data from home via the internet and will have updated information ready for coaching interviews
The Concept of Working Memory
Excerpts from Torkel Klingberg Prof. Cognitive Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm
Working memory can be defined as the ability to keep information on-line, typically for a few seconds. The unitary view of short-term memory was later challenged by Alan Baddeley’s multi-compartment model (Baddeley & Hitch, 1974). This model suggests instead that WM consists of a visuo-spatial scratch pad, used to store visual information, a phonological loop, used to store verbal information, and a central executive, that directs attention and coordinates processes. In Baddeley´s words, working memory refers to a system for both temporary storage and manipulation of information, which is necessary for a wide range of cognitive tasks.
This is currently the most widely-used definition. The authors, Nelson Cowan and Randall Engle, have modified this definition and proposed that working memory is more accurately described as a passive store component, plus attentional control. Several theorists have also shown that working memory is necessary for the control of attention (Awh & Jonides, 2001; Desimone, 1996). Thus, it is not possible to separate working memory and control of attention.
Working memory capacity is not fixed to seven items, as some researchers propose, but differs from individual to individual. Furthermore, WM capacity, as measured for example by the visuo-spatial span-board task, develops during childhood and adulthood to reach a maximum at about 25 years of age. This capacity then gradually declines during the aging process.
Recent data has also shown that working memory capacity can be affected by training (Klingberg, Forssberg, & Westerberg, 2002; Klingberg et al., 2005). These studies have shown that 25 days of computerized, adaptive training improves capacity, and that this training effect generalizes also to non-trained working memory tasks and to cognitive tasks known to rely on working memory.
As is clear from Baddeley’s definition, WM is needed for a wide range of cognitive tasks in which there is a need to keep information in mind. Indeed, WM might be the single most important factor in determining general intelligence (Kyllonen & Christal, 1990; SüB, Oberauer, Wittmann, Wilhelm, & Schulze, 2002). Although they differ according to which WM task is used, the correlations are commonly around r = 0.7, which means that about half of the variance between different individuals in general intelligence can be explained by differences in WM capacity (Conway, Kane, & Engle, 2003). Not surprisingly, WM is important for a range of academic tasks, such as reading comprehension (Just & Carpenter, 1992) and arithmetic (Gathercole, Pickering, Knight, & Stegmann, 2003). Parietal and prefrontal areas involved in working memory tasks, independent of the sensory modality of the information kept in mind (from Klingberg, 1998).
There is an ongoing debate about the brain areas involved in different types of working memory tasks. One hypothesis suggests a distinction between ventral and dorsolateral parts of the prefrontal cortex, where the ventral would be more involved in maintenance, and the dorsal in manipulation (Owen, 1997). This is not compatible with evidence of continuous dorsolateral activity in tasks without any manipulation (Cohen et al., 1997; Curtis & D’Esposito, 2003a). Although the distinction between passive storage and manipulation is central in cognitive psychology, one review concludes that there is no such clear distinction emerging from neuro imaging data (Curtis & D’Esposito, 2003b).
Cognitive neuroscience has thus shown that the prefrontal and parietal regions are important for working memory and that dopamine is a central neurotransmitter. Impairments in working memory are found in several clinical disorders in which these systems are implicated, such as after stroke, traumatic brain injury and in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Working Memory Checklist
An individual may be constrained by their working memory capacity if he/she:
- Is easily distracted when working on or doing something that is not highly interesting.
- Has trouble waiting his/her turn, for example in a conversation or when waiting in line to get help.
- Struggles with reading comprehension and has to read through texts repeatedly to understand.
- Struggles with problem solving that require holding information in mind, for example mental math calculations.
- Is inconsistent in remembering math facts.
- Struggles with completing tasks, especially multiple step tasks.
- Has difficulty remembering long instruction given in several steps, for example following recipes, directions or school/work assignments.
- Struggles to understand the context in a story or a conversation.
- Has difficulties when planning and organizing something that needs to be done in separate steps.
- Has difficulty staying focused during cognitive demanding tasks but attends well when cognitively demands are minimal.
- Has difficulty integrating new information with prior knowledge.
- When called on, forgets what he/she was planning to say.
- Has difficulty taking notes and listening at the same time.
Cognitive Training Enhances Intrinsic Brain Connectivity in Childhood. D E. Astle et al. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2015
In human participants, the intensive practice of particular cognitive activities can induce sustained improvements in cognitive performance, which in some cases transfer to benefits on untrained activities. Despite the growing body of research examining the behavioral effects of cognitive training in children, no studies have explored directly the neural basis of these training effects in a systematic, controlled fashion. Therefore, the impact of training on brain neurophysiology in childhood, and the mechanisms by which benefits may be achieved, are unknown. Here, we apply new methods to examine dynamic neurophysiological connectivity in the context of a randomized trial of adaptive working memory training undertaken in children. After training, connectivity between frontoparietal networks and both lateral occipital complex and inferior temporal cortex was altered. Furthermore, improvements in working memory after training were associated with increased strength of neural connectivity at rest, with the magnitude of these specific neurophysiological changes being mirrored by individual gains in untrained working memory performance.
Benefits of a Working Memory Training Program for Inattention in Daily Life: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis:. M Spencer-Smith et al. PLOS ONE, 2015
Background: Many common disorders across the lifespan feature impaired working memory (WM). Reported benefits of aWM training program include improving inattention in daily life, but this has not been evaluated in a meta-analysis. This study aimed to evaluate whether one WM training method has benefits for inattention in daily life by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Methods: We searched Medline and PsycINFO, relevant journals and contacted authors for studies with an intervention and control group reporting post-training estimates of inattention in daily life. To reduce the influence of differentWM training methods on the findings, the review was restricted to trials evaluating the Cogmed method. A meta-analysis calculated the pooled standardised difference in means (SMD) between intervention and control groups.
Results: A total of 622 studies were identified and 12 studies with 13 group comparisons met inclusion criteria. The meta-analysis showed a significant training effect on inattention in daily life, SMD=-0.47, 95% CI -0.65, -0.29, p<.00001. Subgroup analyses showed this significant effect was observed in groups of children and adults as well as users with and without ADHD, and in studies using control groups that were active and non adaptive, wait-list and passive as well as studies using specific or general measures. Seven of the studies reported follow-up assessment and a meta analysis showed persisting training benefits for inattention in daily life, SMD=-0.33, 95% CI -0.57 -0.09, p = .006. Additional meta-analyses confirmed improvements after training on visuospatial WM, SMD=0.66, 95% CI 0.43, 0.89, p<.00001, and verbal WM tasks, SMD=0.40, 95% CI 0.18, 0.62, p = .0004.
Conclusions: Benefits of a WM training program generalise to improvements in everyday functioning. Initial evidence shows that the Cogmed method has significant benefits for inattention in daily life with a clinically relevant effect size.
Working memory training in college students with ADHD or LD. Gropper et al. Journal of Attention Disorders. 2014
Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of working memory (WM) training in college students with ADHD or learning disabilities (LD). Method: A total of 62 students (21 males, 41 females) were randomized to a 5-week intensive WM training program or a wait-list control group. Participants were evaluated before treatment, 3 weeks after completion, and at 2-month follow-up. The criterion measures were standardized tests of auditory-verbal and visual-spatial WM. Near transfer measures included other cognitive tasks; far transfer measures included academic tasks and behavioral rating scales. Results: Intent-to-treat analysis revealed that participants receiving WM training showed significantly greater improvements on the criterion WM measures and self-reported fewer ADHD symptoms and cognitive failures. The follow-up assessment indicated that gains in WM were maintained, as were improvements in cognitive failures. Conclusion: Computerized WM training is a feasible and possibly viable approach for enhancing WM in college students with ADHD or LD. (J. of Att. Dis. XXXX; XX(X) XX-XX)
Working memory training in young children with ADHD: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. van Dongen-Boomsma et al. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2014.
Backgroud:Until now, working memory training has not reached sufficient evidence as effective treatment for ADHD core symptoms in children with ADHD; for young children with ADHD, no studies are available. To this end, a triple-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study was designed to assess the efficacy of Cogmed Working Memory Training (CWMT) in young children with ADHD.
Methods:Fifty-one children (5-7 years) with a DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of ADHD (without current psychotropic medication) were randomly assigned to the active (adaptive) or placebo (nonadaptive) training condition for 25 sessions during 5 weeks. The compliance criterion (>20 sessions) was met for 47 children. The primary outcome measure concerned the core behavioural symptoms of ADHD, measured with the ADHD Rating Scale IV (ADHD-RS). Secondary outcome measures were neurocognitive functioning, daily executive functioning, and global clinical functioning. The influence of the increase in difficulty level (Index-Improvement) for the treatment group was also analysed. Clinical trial registration information - 'Working Memory Training in Young ADHD Children'; www.clinicaltrials.gov; NCT00819611.
Results:A significant improvement in favour of the active condition was found on a verbal working memory task (p = .041; adapted Digit Span WISC-III, backward condition). However, it did not survive correction for multiple testing. No significant treatment effect on any of the primary or other secondary outcome measurements was found. The Index-Improvement significantly contributed to ADHD-RS and the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, both rated by the teacher, but revealed no significant group difference.
Conclusions:This study failed to find robust evidence for benefits of CMWT over the placebo training on behavioural symptoms, neurocognitive, daily executive, and global clinical functioning in young children with ADHD.
Few effects of far transfer of working memory training in ADHD: A randomized controlled trial. Egeland, et al. PLoS ONE. 2013
Objective: Studies have shown that children with ADHD profit from working memory training, although few studies have investigated transfer effects comprehensively. The current Randomized Controlled Trial analyzes transfer to other neuropsychological (NP) domains, academic performance and everyday functioning at home and school.
Method:Sixty-seven children with ADHD were randomized into a control group or a training group. The training group underwent Cogmed’s RoboMemo program. All participants were assessed pre-training, immediately after and eight months later with a battery of NP tests, measures of mathematical and reading skills, as well as rating scales filled out by parents and teachers.
Results:There was a significant training effect in psychomotor speed, but not to any other NP measures. Reading and mathematics were improved. There were no training induced changes in symptom rating scales either at home or at school. The increased reading scores remained significant eight months later.
Conclusion:The study is the most comprehensive study of transfer effects to date, and with mixed results compared to previous research. More research is needed regarding how to improve the training program and the conditions and thresholds for successful training.
Trial Registration: Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN19133620
Working memory training and the effect on mathematical achievement in children with attention deficits and special needs. Dahlin. Journal of Education and Learning. 2013
Working Memory (WM) has a central role in learning. It is suggested to be malleable and is considered necessary for several aspects of mathematical functioning. This study investigated whether work with an interactive computerised working memory training programme at school could affect the mathematical performance of young children. Fifty-seven children with attention deficits participated in an intervention programme. The treatment group trained daily, for 30-40 min. at school for five weeks, while the control group did not get any extra training. Looking at the group as a whole, mathematical performance improved in the treatment group compared with the control group directly following the five weeks of training (Time 2), but the results of the second post-test (Time 3, approximately seven months later) were no longer significant. Since there was only a small number of girls, the results were analysed for boys only. The boys had improved their mathematical results in both post-tests. WM-measures improved at Time 2 and 3 relative to Time 1 (pre-test) for the whole group, and for boys. Differences in training scores were related to differences in the non-verbal WM-measure Span board back. The results indicate that boys aged 9 to 12 with special needs may benefit, over time, from WM training, as shown in the enhanced results in mathematics following WM training. However, as the intervention and control groups were not randomised, the results cannot be generalised; the results must be considered with caution.
A randomized clinical trial of Cogmed Working Memory Training in school-age children with ADHD: A replication in a diverse sample using a control condition. Chacko et al. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2013
Background: Cogmed Working Memory Training (CWMT) has received considerable attention as a promising intervention for the treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children. At the same time, methodological weaknesses in previous clinical trials call into question reported efficacy of CWMT. In particular, lack of equivalence in key aspects of CWMT (i.e., contingent reinforcement, time-on-task with computer training, parent–child interactions, supportive coaching) between CWMT and placebo versions of CWMT used in previous trials may account for the beneficial outcomes favoring CWMT.
Methods: Eighty-five 7- to 11-year old school-age children with ADHD (66 male; 78%) were randomized to either standard CWMT (CWMT Active) or a well-controlled CWMT placebo condition (CWMT Placebo) and evaluated before and 3 weeks after treatment. Dependent measures included parent and teacher ratings of ADHD symptoms; objective measures of attention, activity level, and impulsivity; and psychometric indices of working memory and academic achievement (Clinical trial title: Combined cognitive remediation and behavioral intervention for the treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder; http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01137318).
Results:CWMT Active participants demonstrated significantly greater improvements in verbal and nonverbal working memory storage, but evidenced no discernible gains in working memory storage plus processing/manipulation. In addition, no treatment group differences were observed for any other outcome measures.
Conclusions:When a more rigorous comparison condition is utilized, CWMT demonstrates effects on certain aspects of working memory in children with ADHD; however, CWMT does not appear to foster treatment generalization to other domains of functioning. As such, CWMT should not be considered a viable treatment for children with ADHD.
Recall initiation strategies must be controlled in training studies that use immediate free recall tasks to measure the components of working memory capacity across time. Gibson et al. Child Neuropsychology. 2013
There has been great interest in using working memory (WM) training regimens as an alternative treatment for ADHD, but it has recently been concluded that existing training regimens may not be optimally designed because they target the primary memory component but not the secondary component of WM capacity. This conclusion requires the ability to accurately measure changes in primary and secondary memory abilities over time. The immediate free recall task has been used in previous studies to measure these changes; however, one concern with these tasks is that the recall order required on training exercises may influence the recall strategy used during free recall, which may in turn influence the relative number of items recalled from primary and secondary memory. To address this issue, previous training studies have explicitly controlled recall strategy before and after training. However, the necessity of controlling for recall strategies has not been explicitly tested. The present study investigated the effects of forward-serial-order training on free recall performance under conditions in which recall strategy was not controlled using a sample of adolescents with ADHD. Unlike when recall order was controlled, the main findings showed selective improvement of the secondary memory component (as opposed to the primary memory component) when recall order was uncontrolled. This finding advances our understanding of WM training by highlighting the importance of controlling for recall strategies when free recall tasks are used to measure changes in the primary and secondary components of WM across time.
Will working memory training generalize to improve off-task behavior in children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder?. Green et al. Neurotherapeutics. 2012
Computerized working memory and executive function training programs designed to target specific impairments in executive functioning are becoming increasingly available, yet how well these programs generalize to improve functional deficits in disorders, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), beyond the training context is not well-established. The aim of this study was to examine the extent to which working memory (WM) training in children with ADHD would diminish a core dysfunctional behavior associated with the disorder, "off-task" behavior during academic task performance. The effect of computerized WM training (adaptive) was compared to a placebo condition (nonadaptive) in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design in 26 children (18 males; age, 7 to 14 years old) diagnosed with ADHD. Participants completed the training in approximately 25 sessions. The Restricted Academic Situations Task (RAST) observational system was used to assess aspects of off-task behavior during the completion of an academic task. Traditional measures of ADHD symptoms (Conners' Parent Rating Scale) and WM ability (standardized WM tests) were also collected. WM training led to significant reductions in off-task ADHD-associated behavior on the RAST system and improvement on WM tests. There were no significant differences between groups in improvement on parent rating scales. Findings lend insight into the generalizability of the effects of WM training and the relation between deficits in WM and off-task behavioral components of ADHD. These preliminary data suggest WM training may provide a mechanism for indirectly altering academic performance in children with ADHD.
Effects of a computerized working memory training program on working memory, attention, and academics in adolescents with severe LD and comorbid ADHD; a randomized controlled trial. Gray et al. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2012
Background: Youths with coexisting learning disabilities (LD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at risk for poor academic and social outcomes. The underlying cognitive deficits, such as poor working memory (WM), are not well targeted by current treatments for either LD or ADHD. Emerging evidence suggests that WM might be improved by intensive and adaptive computerized training, but it remains unclear whether this intervention would be effective for adolescents with severe LD and comorbid ADHD.
Methods: A total of sixty 12- to 17-year olds with LD/ADHD (52 male, 8 female, IQ > 80) were randomized to one of two computerized intervention programs: working memory training (Cogmed RM) or math training (Academy of Math) and evaluated before and 3 weeks after completion. The criterion measures of WM included auditory-verbal and visual-spatial tasks. Near and far transfer measures included indices of cognitive and behavioral attention and academic achievement.
Results: Adolescents in the WM training group showed greater improvements in a subset of WM criterion measures compared with those in the math-training group, but no training effects were observed on the near or far measures. Those who showed the most improvement on the WM training tasks at school were rated as less inattentive/hyperactive at home by parents.
Conclusions: Results suggest that WM training may enhance some aspects of WM in youths with LD/ADHD, but further development of the training program is required to promote transfer effects to other domains of function.