Working memory is a complex cognitive system responsible for the concurrent storage and processing of information. Given that a complex cognitive task like mental arithmetic clearly places demands on working memory (e.g., in remembering partial results, monitoring progress through a multi-step calculation), there is surprisingly little research exploring the possibility of increasing young children's working memory capacity through systematic school-based training. This study reports the preliminary results of a working memory training programme, targeting executive processes such as inhibiting unwanted information, monitoring processes, and the concurrent storage and processing of information. The findings suggest that children who received working memory training made significantly greater gains in the trained working memory task, and in a non-trained visual-spatial working memory task, than a matched control group. Moreover, the training group made significant improvements in their mathematical functioning as measured by the number of errors made in an addition task compared to the control group. These findings, although preliminary, suggest that school-based measures to train working memory could have benefits in terms of improved performance in mathematics.
Witt, M. (2011). School based working memory training: Preliminary finding of improvement in children's mathematical performance. Advances in Cognitive Psychology, 7(1), 7-15. https://doi.org/10.2478/v10053-008-0083-3