Combined working memory capacity and reasoning strategy training improves reasoning skills in secondary social studies education: evidence from an experimental study

Roel Ariës*, Joris Ghysels, Willem Groot, Henriette Maassen van den Brink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Evidence suggests that working memory (WM) abilities and WM training correlate with deductive reasoning achievements. In this study, a combined WM-capacity and WM-reasoning strategy training is incorporated in secondary school social studies curricula to investigate its effects on reasoning achievements. Four secondary classes in three schools in the Netherlands participated in the present study with a total of 81 students in higher general secondary education. WM-capacity and reasoning achievements of the experimental groups improved significantly after 4 training weeks compared to control group results. The gain in reasoning abilities is demonstrated in both experimental subgroups, while control group results did not improve. The study supports the notion that deductive reasoning gains can be achieved through a combination of WM-capacity and strategy training in a content-based context. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-246
Number of pages14
JournalThinking Skills and Creativity
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Reasoning abilities
  • Secondary education
  • Social studies
  • Working memory
  • Critical thinking
  • AGE

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