Theory of Working Memory
I am interested in how working memory develops across the lifespan and have recently investigated this issue in a large-scale study of almost 4000 people between 5 and 80. I am also interested in how culture impacts working memory and am involved in a range of projects with colleagues in Europe, South America, Asia, and South Africa. The contribution of genetics to working memory skills is also of interest and the photo is of twins who were part of my study investigating this issue.
Diagnosis and Assessment
I have developed two standardized test batteries for screening individuals for working memory problems, suitable for use by psychologists, clinicans, and educators. The Automated Working Memory Assessment and the Working Memory Rating Scale are published with a leading test publisher, Pearson Assessment. To date, the AWMA has been translated into almost 20 languages to screen tens of thousands of individuals.
Working Memory in Education
My own research program over the last decade has established that working memory makes a unique and significant contribution to academic success, even when other potential contributing factors (such as IQ a, even six years nd financial background) are statistically accounted. For example, working memory capacity at 5 years old is a powerful predictor of educational outcomeslater. I am also interested in how adaptative working memory training can improve academic attainment.
Working Memory and Learning Disorders
I am fortunate to work with charities and nonprofits to investigate the importance of working memory in learning in clinical populations, such as those with language impairments, ADHD, Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Developmental Coordination Difficulties (Dyspraxia), as well as in twice exceptional gifted students. The photo on the right is a picture of Josh, a young boy with Autistic Spectrum Disorder that I had the pleasure of getting to know.
Working Memory and Health
I collaborate on a number of projects investigating the relationship between Working Memory in anxiety, depression, and gestational diabetes. For example, in a recent study (together with the British Science Festival), I explored the impact of working memory on mental health. The findings from over 4000 participants indicated that people who have high working memory are more optimistic. They are more hopeful and confident about the future compared to those with low working memory.
Working Memory and Technology
Students today have greater access to technology than before; with internet-use topping the list of most highly used technological products. However, there does appear to be a trade-off in this current highly saturated media environment: individuals who are more frequent media multitaskers do so at the expense of their cognitive abilities, including working memory. But is this detrimental effect on cognitive ability evident for all types of technology? I am interested investigating this issue in both students and adults, as well as to determine whether active or passive engagement with digital technology influences attentional and cognitive and control.