Influence of neuroticism and conscientiousness on working memory training outcome
Barbara Studer-Luethi, Susanne M. Jaeggi, Martin Buschkuehl, Walter J. Peril
We investigated whether and how individual differences in personality determine cognitive training outcomes. Forty-seven participants were either trained on a single or on a dual n-back task for a period of 4 weeks. Fifty-two additional participants did not receive any training and served as a no-contact control group. We assessed neuroticism and conscientiousness as personality traits as well as performance in near and far transfer measures. The results indicated a significant interaction of neuroticism and intervention in terms of training efficacy. Whereas dual n-back training was more effective for participants low in neuroticism, single n-back training was more effective for participants high in neuroticism. Conscientiousness was associated with high training scores in the single n-back and improvement in near transfer measures, but lower far transfer performance, suggesting that subjects scoring high in this trait developed task-specific skills preventing generalizing effects. We conclude by proposing that individual differences in personality should be considered in future cognitive intervention studies to optimize the Working memory training efficacy of training.