Dr Joni Holmes

University position

Senior Investigator Scientist

Dr Joni Holmes is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit



Home page


Research Themes

Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience

Developmental Neuroscience


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.

Research Focus


working memory


executive funciton

developmental disorders


Clinical conditions

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Childhood disorders

Cognitive impairment


Language disorders

Learning disabilities

No direct clinical relevance

Traumatic brain injury


Cross-sectional and cohort studies

Neuropsychological testing

Randomised control trials



Anna Adlam

Sally Butterfield

Francesca Cormack

Susan Gathercole

Fergus Gracey

United Kingdom

Stephanie Bennett Web: http://www.port.ac.uk/departm...

Sue Buckley Web: http://www.dseinternational.org/en/gb/a...

Darren Dunning Web: http://www.york.ac.uk/psychol...

Associated News Items

Key publications

Dunning DL, Holmes J, Gathercole SE (2013), “Does working memory training improve the classroom performance of children with poor working memory? A randomised controlled trial.” Developmental Science 16, 915-25.

Holmes J, Gathercole SE, Place M, Dunning DL, Hilton, KA, Elliott, JG (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 SE, Dunning DL (2009), “Adaptive training leads to sustained enhancement of poor working memory in children.” Dev Sci 12(4):F9-15 Details



Dunning DL, Holmes J (2014), “Does working memory training promote the use of strategies on untrained working memory tasks?” Memory & Cognition DOI: 10.3758/s13421-014-0410-5

Gathercole SE, & Holmes J (2014), “Developmental impairments of working memory: Profiles and interventions” Perspectives on Language and Literacy in press


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

Holmes J, Gathercole SE (2013), “Taking working memory training from the laboratory into schools” Educational Psychology, 34, 440-450.

Zirk-Sadowski J, Szucs D, Holmes J (2013), “Content specificity in verbal short-term and verbal working memory” PLoS One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079528


Gathercole SE, Dunning DL, Holmes J (2012), “Cogmed training: Let's be realistic about intervention research.” Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition 201-203

Holmes J (2012), “Working memory and learning difficulties” Dyslexia Review


Holmes J (2011), “Baby brain: training executive control in infancy.” Curr Biol 21(18):R684-5 Details


Alloway T, Elliott J, Holmes J (2010), “The prevalence of ADHD-like symptoms in a community sample.” J Atten Disord 14(1):52-6 Details

Elliott J ,Gathercole SE, Alloway TP 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 (2010), “Developmental Disorders and Interventions” Advances in Child Development and Behavior 39

Holmes J, Gathercole SE, Dunning DL (2010), “Poor working memory: impact and interventions.” Adv Child Dev Behav 39:1-43 Details

Holmes, J, Gathercole, SE, Place M, Alloway, TP, Elliott JG, Hilton KA (2010), “The diagnostic utility of executive function assessments in the identification of ADHD in children” Child & Adolescent Mental Health 15, 37-43.


Alloway TP, Gathercole SE, Holmes J, Place M, Elliott JG, Hilton K (2009), “The diagnostic utility of behavioral checklists in identifying children with ADHD and children with working memory deficits.” Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 40(3):353-66 Details


Gathercole, SE, Alloway TP, Kirkwood HJ, Elliott, JE, 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 JW, Hamilton CJ (2008), “Visuo-spatial working memory capacity and children's mathematical skills” European Journal of Cognitive Psychology 20, 272-289

St Clair-Thompson HL, Holmes J (2008), “Improving short-term and working memory: Methods of memory training” New research on short-term memory


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


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