Short-Term Memory: Transfer of Training

MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit

This project investigates whether training people on particular short-term memory tasks will lead to more general improvements in short-term memory. We built two applications to support this research — both are installable web applications optimised for the iPad. The first application, which is run in the lab, runs through eight short-term memory tests that establish baseline data for each participant before they start training. The second application provides training in one of four different tasks; this will be run by participants in their own homes. The training program adapts to changes in performance and is organised into daily sessions of a variable number of blocks. Performance feedback is presented after each block and session. Data are recorded locally on the iPad and are then automatically uploaded to a remote server.

Each application is heavily parameterised, and the code is organised to make it easy for the researchers to change the values of almost every key variable in the tasks, including: item presentation times, trials per block, sizes of stimuli used, etc. This means that the researchers will be able to alter these parameters themselves without needing to come back to us for more coding.

Key Application Features:

  • Two separate installable applications with participant ids used to link data across applications.
  • Tasks can run while off-line, and data are uploaded when an Internet connection is made.
  • The tasks are heavily parameterised so researchers can make changes to key variables themselves.
  • Data are securely uploaded to the server automatically and are then stored on the server in a format that can be easily used in an analysis package.