Joni Holmes
Research staff, Memory and perception group
01223 273765
  • Working memory, executive function and attention
  • Cognitive developmental disorders
  • Working memory training

I am interested in the overlap between working memory, attention and executive function processes in children and adults. My research has focussed on the role of working memory in children's mathematical skills, and on understanding the cognitive and behavioural profiles of children with disorders of memory and attention. I am currently interested in understanding the core deficits that predispose individuals to cognitive developmental disorders, and am developing and evaluating targeted interventions to overcome these difficulties.


  Dunning, D.L., & Holmes, J. (2013). Working memory training: Is it strategic. Submitted.

Zirk-Sadowski, J., Szucs, D., & Holmes, J. (2013). Content specificity in verbal short-term and verbal working memory. PLoS One, in press.

Dunning, D.L., Holmes, J., & Gathercole, S.E. (2013).Does working memory training improve the classroom performance of children with poor working memory? A randomised controlled trial. Developmental Science, DOI: 10.1111/desc. 12068.

Holmes, J., & Gathercole, S.E. (2013). Taking working memory training from the laboratory into schools. Educational Psychology, DOI:10.1080/01443410.2013.797338.

Bennett, S., Holmes, J., & Buckley, S. (2013). Computerised memory training leads to sustained improvement in visuo-spatial short term memory skills in children with Down syndrome. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 118, 179-192.

Gathercole, S.E., Dunning, D.L., & Holmes, J. (2012). Cogmed training: Let's be realistic about intervention research. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 1, 201-203.

Holmes, J. (2012). Working memory and learning difficulties. Dyslexia Review, 23, 7-10.

Holmes, J. (2011). Baby Brain: Training executive control in infancy. Current Biology, 21, R684-R685.

Alloway, T P., Elliott, J., & Holmes, J (2010). The prevalence of ADHD-like symptoms in a community sample. Journal of Attention Disorders, 14, 52-56.

Holmes, J., Gathercole, S.E., & Dunning, D.L. (2010). Poor working memory: Impact and Interventions. In P.Bauer (Ed.) Advances in Child Development and Behaviour, Volume 39, Developmental Disorders and Interventions, J.Holmes, Academic Press: London, UK, 2010, pp.1-43.

Elliott, J., Gathercole, S.E., Alloway, T.P., Holmes, J., & Kirkwood, H. (2010). An Evaluation of a Classroom-Based Intervention to Help Overcome Working Memory Difficulties and Improve Long-Term Academic Achievement. Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 9, 227-250.

Holmes, J., Gathercole, S E., Place, M., Dunning, D L., Hilton, K A., & Elliott, J G (2010). Working memory deficits can be overcome: Impacts of training and medication on working memory in children with ADHD, Applied Cognitive Psychology. 24, 827-836.

Holmes, J., Gathercole, S E., Place, M., Alloway, T P., Elliott, J G., & Hilton, K A. (2010). The diagnostic utility of executive function assessments in the identification of ADHD in children, Child & Adolescent Mental Health, 15, 37-43.

Alloway, T P., Gathercole, S E., Holmes, J., Place, M., & Elliott, J (2009). The diagnostic utility of behavioural checklists in identifying children with ADHD and children with working memory deficits. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 40, 353-366.

Holmes, J., Gathercole, S E., & Dunning, D L. (2009). Adaptive training leads to sustained enhancement of poor working memory in children, Developmental Science, 12, F9-F15.

Gathercole, S E., Alloway, T P., Kirkwood, H J., Elliott, J E., Holmes, J., & Hilton, K. (2008). Attentional and executive function behaviours in children with poor working memory. Learning and Individual Differences, 18, 214-223.

Holmes, J., Adams, J.W., & Hamilton, C J. (2008). Visuo-spatial working memory capacity and children's mathematical skills. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 20, 272-289.

Holmes, J. & Adams, J W. (2006). Working memory and children's mathematical skills: Implications for mathematical development and mathematics curricula. Educational Psychology, 26, 339-366.

Muncer, S.J., Craigie, M., & Holmes, J. (2003) Meta-Analysis and Power: Some suggestions for the use of power in research synthesis. Understanding Statistics, 2, 1-12.


  2013-2014 Using transcranial electrical stimulation to enhance the effects of cognitive training (£35k). MRC Directors Strategic Fund, J Holmes & M Ewbank.

 2012-2015 Computerised training of working memory (Cogmed RM) in children who have survived a traumatic brain injury: A randomised controlled trial. (£125K). Action Medical Research. A Adlam, L Shepston, S Gathercole, J Holmes, F Gracey

2011-2013 Working memory training (Cogmed RM) following paediatric acquired brain injury: a pilot study (£7k). British Academy: A Adlam, SE Gathercole, J Holmes

2010-2011 Making working memory really work (£125k). ESRC: SE Gathercole, J Holmes.

2010-2010 The effects of cognitive training on cognitive performance of young people at increased risk of depression: a pilot study. (£7K). Oxfordshire Health Services Research Committee (OHSRC). Z Mannie, P Cowan, J Holmes.

2009-2010 Improving working memory for children with Down Syndrome (£44k). Bailey Thomas Charitable Fund: SJ Bennett, S Buckley, J Holmes, SE Gathercole.

2007-2008 An evaluation of a computerised working memory training programme in children who receive stimulant medication for ADHD (£125k). British Academy: J Holmes, SE Gathercole.

2001-2004 Working memory and children's mathematical skills. (£24k). Departmental Studentship, University of Durham: J Holmes.

Show CBSU publications

HOLMES, J. , BYRNE, E., GATHERCOLE, S., EWBNAK, M. (In Press) Transcranial random noise does not enhance the effects of working memory training, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience [Open Access]

JAROSLAWSKA, A., GATGHERCOLE, S., Logie, M., HOLMES, J. (2016) Following instructions in a virtual school: Does working memory play a role?, Memory & Cognition [Open Access]

HOLMES, J. , BUTTERFIELD, S., Cormack, F., van Loenhoud, A., Ruggero, L., Kashir, L. & GATHERCOLE, S (2015) Improving working memory in children with low language abilities, Frontiers in Developmental Psychology, 6:519 [Open Access]

HOLMES, J. , Hilton, K., Place, M., Alloway, T., Elliot, J., GATHERCOLE, S.E. (2014) Children with low working memory and children with ADHA: same or different, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, 976 [Open Access]

DUNNING, D., HOLMES, J. (2014) Does working memory training promote the use of strategies on untrained working memory tasks?, Memory & Cognition, 42(6), 854-862 [Open Access]

HOLMES, J. , GATHERCOLE, S. (2014) Taking working memory training from the laboratory into schools, Educational Psychology: An International Journal of Experimental Educational Psychology, 34(4), 440-450 [Open Access]

Zrik-Sadowski, J., Szucs, D., HOLMES, J. (2013) Content-specificity in verbal recall: a randomized controlled study, PLOS One, 8(11):e79528 [Open Access]

Bennett, S.J., HOLMES, J. , and Buckley, S. (2013) Computerized Memory Training Leads to Sustained Improvement in Visuospatial Short-Term Memory Skills in Children with Down Syndrome, American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities [Read More]

Dunning, D.L., HOLMES, J. , & GATHERCOLE, S. (2013) Does working memory training lead to generalised improvements in children with low working memory? A randomised controlled trial, Developmental Science, 16(6), 915-926 [Open Access]

HOLMES, J. (2012) Working memory and learning difficulties, Dyslexia Review, 23, 7-10 [Read More]

GATHERCOLE, S.E. Dunning, D., HOLMES, J. (2012) Cogmed training: Let's be realistic about intervention research, Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 1(3), 201-203 [Open Access]

HOLMES, J. (2011) Baby brain: Training executive control in infancy, Current Biology, 21(18), R864-R685 [Read More]