Do intensive studies of a foreign language improve associative memory performance?
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Frontiers in psychology
Förlag: Frontiers Media S.A
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.
- ISSN: 1664-1078