Cognitive Processing

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 375–385 | Cite as

Effectiveness of working memory training among children with dyscalculia: evidence for transfer effects on mathematical achievement—a pilot study

  • Smail LayesEmail author
  • Robert Lalonde
  • Yamina Bouakkaz
  • Mohamed Rebai
Research Report


We examined whether the working memory (WM) capacity of developmentally dyscalculic children can be improved by a WM training program and whether outcomes relate to mathematical performance. The experimental design comprised two groups with developmental dyslexia with grade 4 schooling: an experimental group (n = 14; mean age = 129.74 months) and a control group (n = 14; mean age = 126.9 months). All participants were assessed on measures of WM, mathematic attainment, and nonverbal mental ability (Raven test) before and after training. The WM training program focused on manipulating and maintaining arithmetic information. The results show that both WM and mathematical performances improved significantly after intervention, indicating a strong relationship between these two constructs. The control group improved slightly in Raven’s progressive matrices and a reading number task. These findings are discussed in terms of near and far transfer toward trained and untrained skills and stress the positive impact of WM training on learning mathematics in children with dyscalculia.


Developmental dyscalculia Working memory training Near and far transfer 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standard

All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the National Council of Ethics and University Deontology.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Marta Olivetti Belardinelli and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Smail Layes
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Robert Lalonde
    • 2
    • 3
  • Yamina Bouakkaz
    • 1
  • Mohamed Rebai
    • 2
  1. 1.School of psychologyUniversity of El-OuedEl-OuedAlgeria
  2. 2.CRFDPNormandie UniversitéRouenFrance
  3. 3.UFR des Sciences de l’Homme et de la sociétéMont Saint Aignan CedexFrance

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