Question 1: What is working memory?
Working memory is the ability to keep information in mind for a short period of time (seconds) and to use this information in your thinking. We use our working memory for a number of everyday activities, for example remembering instructions, reading and remembering what you read, planning, organising and structuring your daily life.
Question 2: Is it actually possible to improve your working memory?
In short, yes! We each can hold different amounts of information in our mind, this is called our personal working memory capacity. People who have small working memory capacities are likely to struggle when their memory is overloaded or if they are distracted, or when they are attempting demanding tasks at the same time as trying to remember new information. Research has shown that repeatedly practicing working memory exercises that are challenging can increase your working memory capacity – it is a bit like how exercise trains your muscles.
Question 3: What is the Cogmed Working Memory Training program?
It is a web-based program that contains working memory tasks to train your working memory.
An example task is asking you to remember a sequence of items and repeating them forward or backwards. Your answers are scored, which makes the program adaptive, so the tasks either become progressively harder or easier. This is to make sure that you are being challenged at the highest level you can do well in, and equally if it is too hard it will automatically be made a little easier.
Your performance will be uploaded to your account and only you and your Cogmed coach can view this. It will be reviewed throughout your training and you will receive an in-depth report about your progress after training is finished.
Question 4: How do I know if this is right for me?
The easiest way to determine this to schedule a quick chat with our Cogmed coach, Jasmin. This can be arranged by calling her on 0870 162 0673 ext 2 or emailing her on firstname.lastname@example.org.
With that being said, Cogmed Working Memory Training is suitable for almost anybody aged 4+ that wants to improve their working memory. It is also suitable for those with ADHD, acquired brain injury, learning difficulties and aging populations.
Question 5: Who can’t do this?
There is no need for any diagnosis of working memory deficits before you can start training but if you currently have symptoms of, or have recently been diagnosed with, severe depression, severe anxiety or conduct disorder, you will be required to have an assessment with a Consultant Psychiatrist. If they conclude that your symptoms are well managed you can begin training otherwise they will refer you to a different service within Phoenix Mental Health Services to treat these symptoms first. Because of the flashing photography used in some of the working memory tasks, those with photosensitive epilepsy cannot take part.
Question 6: What is the cost and process?
To view the process in more detail, please view our flow chart (link here).
There are two different pathways. If our Cogmed coach views you as immediately suitable for training, the total cost of the program is £550. This includes:
• Initial interview with your Cogmed coach
• Start up session with your Cogmed coach
• 5 coaching calls in between training starting and finishing
• Wrap up session with a comprehensive report sent out within two weeks
• 6-month follow up
There is no telling how long training will take to complete because it depends on which training program your coach assigns you (this is all discussed at the initial appointment). However, on average, training should be planned intensively, ideally five days a week for five weeks, and each session can take between 30-45 minutes, depending on performance.
The second pathway, where your coach requires you to have an assessment with a Consultant Psychiatrist first will cost differently, but you can enquire with Jasmin to find out more.
Question 7: What do I need to do this?
Since it is a web-based program, there are some practical and technical requirements we need from you:
• Internet access at home
• Functioning computer that has a responsive mouse (that you know how to use)
• Ability to use a mobile device, for example an iPad
• Comfortable using Zoom to catch up with your coach
In order to achieve the best possible results, we require individuals who are:
• Motivated – Training your memory is hard work! If you think you will struggle with this you can get a family member or close friend on board to encourage you.
• Open to structured days and environments – It is likely that you will have to assign time and organise your days around the training. It is also important that you have the right (and consistent) working environment.
• Willing to engage with your Cogmed Coach – over the period of your training, you will have regular contact with your coach. If your performance is not improving, there will be discussion about why this is happening and you will have to work together to make changes.
Question 8: What kind of results can I expect from this?
Since Cogmed Training focuses on improving working memory, children, adolescents and adults with all levels of starting working memory capacity have said that they find it easier to concentrate, experience improved stamina when performing mentally demanding tasks and that they find it easier to remember things. 80% report noticing these results after they have finished the online program and have been shown to be long lasting.
The effects from Cogmed working memory training have been seen on tests that measure things other than working memory, such as attention and academic performance. Research has also shown activation patterns in the areas of the brain involved in manipulating information for a short period of time actually changes as a result of this training. More information on research findings can be found at www.cogmed.com/research.