ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2018, Vol. 50 ›› Issue (10): 1105-1119.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.01105

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Cognitive and emotional benefits of emotional dual dimension n-back training based on an APP

Dong-ni PAN1,2,Daotuan WANG3,Xue-bing LI1,2()   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    2 Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 10049, China
    3 School of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2017-10-23 Published:2018-10-25 Online:2018-08-23


Audiovisual dual channel n-back training offers the ability to transfer to basic cognitive processes that are closely related to the working memory process. However, dual-channel training based on a computer is highly demanding for a training environment. Thus, it is not conducive to its application promotion. Moreover, emotional working memory training is developed to enhance the emotional control ability of individuals. Only negative material working memory training has been examined. Thus, the general problems of emotional working memory training have not been clarified. A new type of emotional dual dimension n-back training based on smartphone applications was designed in this study. The general applicability and emotional effects of emotion (both positive and negative) and neutral working memory training were examined through the design of a randomized controlled group.

This study developed an app based on n-back task, which is a visual single-channel with two dimensions. A total of 66 healthy college students (34 males and 32 females) participated in the experiment and were randomly divided into control, negative training, neutral training, and positive training groups. All participants were trained with their smartphones. Participants in the training groups must remember the Chinese characters and the position of the Chinese characters in the 3*3 matrix and make two independent n-back tasks on the characters and the position. In the neutral, positive, and negative training groups, the valences of Chinese characters were neutral, positive, and negative, respectively. The participants in the control group completed the digital parity task in an interface similar to a training task. Before and after the training session, participants were asked to complete the visual-spatial working memory task, running memory task, Stroop task, digital shifting task, emotion Stroop task, and a profile of mood states.

Short-term dual-dimension n-back training can make more progress on the visual space work memory task, running memory task, digital shifting task, and classic Stroop task than placebo training. These tasks test the working memory capacity, as well as the update, shift, and inhibit the function, and fully characterize the working memory of the whole picture. However, training based on different emotional materials did not vary greatly across the various types of transfer effects. Short-term training cannot transfer into the emotional Stroop task, which is unable to produce specific emotional control benefits.

The dual-dimensional n-back training app can produce a favorable basic cognitive transfer. This indicates that the cognitive training app has a wide application prospect, and the dual-dimensional training paradigm is worthy of improved employment. For the invisible emotional benefits of the emotional version of n-back training manifested that simply incorporate emotional material into the work memory task must be examined carefully in the future.

Key words: working memory training, dual n-back, transfer, emotional working memory, emotional working memory training, APP

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