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Title: Enhanced working memory performance via transcranial direct current stimulation: The possibility of near and far transfer

Although working memory (WM) training programs consistently result in improvement on the trained task, benefit is typically short-lived and extends only to tasks very similar to the trained task (i.e., near transfer). It is possible that pairing repeated performance of a WM task with brain stimulation encourages plasticity in brain networks involved in WM task performance, thereby improving the training benefit. In the current study, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) was paired with performance of a WM task (n-back). In Experiment 1, participants performed a spatial location-monitoring n-back during stimulation, while Experiment 2 used a verbal identity-monitoring n-back. In each experiment, participants received either active (2.0 mA) or sham (0.1 mA) stimulation with the anode placed over either the right or the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and the cathode placed extracephalically. In Experiment 1, only participants receiving active stimulation with the anode placed over the right DLPFC showed marginal improvement on the trained spatial n-back, which did not extend to a near transfer (verbal n-back) or far transfer task (a matrix-reasoning task designed to measure fluid intelligence). Here, in Experiment 2, both left and right anode placements led to improvement, and right DLPFC stimulation resulted in numerical (though notmore » sham-adjusted) improvement on the near transfer (spatial n-back) and far transfer (fluid intelligence) task. Results suggest that WM training paired with brain stimulation may result in cognitive enhancement that transfers to performance on other tasks, depending on the combination of training task and tDCS parameters used.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [4] ;  [4] ;  [4]
  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States); The Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (United States)
  2. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
  3. Univ. of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA (United States)
  4. The Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
SAND-2016-12155J
Journal ID: ISSN 0028-3932; PII: S0028393216303852
Grant/Contract Number:
AC04-94AL85000
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Neuropsychologia
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 93; Journal Issue: A; Journal ID: ISSN 0028-3932
Publisher:
Elsevier
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; working memory; transcranial direct current stimulation; fluid intelligence; transfer; brain stimulation
OSTI Identifier:
1335002
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1396834

Trumbo, Michael C., Matzen, Laura E., Coffman, Brian A., Hunter, Michael A., Jones, Aaron P., Robinson, Charles S. H., and Clark, Vincent P.. Enhanced working memory performance via transcranial direct current stimulation: The possibility of near and far transfer. United States: N. p., Web. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.10.011.
Trumbo, Michael C., Matzen, Laura E., Coffman, Brian A., Hunter, Michael A., Jones, Aaron P., Robinson, Charles S. H., & Clark, Vincent P.. Enhanced working memory performance via transcranial direct current stimulation: The possibility of near and far transfer. United States. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.10.011.
Trumbo, Michael C., Matzen, Laura E., Coffman, Brian A., Hunter, Michael A., Jones, Aaron P., Robinson, Charles S. H., and Clark, Vincent P.. 2016. "Enhanced working memory performance via transcranial direct current stimulation: The possibility of near and far transfer". United States. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.10.011. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1335002.
@article{osti_1335002,
title = {Enhanced working memory performance via transcranial direct current stimulation: The possibility of near and far transfer},
author = {Trumbo, Michael C. and Matzen, Laura E. and Coffman, Brian A. and Hunter, Michael A. and Jones, Aaron P. and Robinson, Charles S. H. and Clark, Vincent P.},
abstractNote = {Although working memory (WM) training programs consistently result in improvement on the trained task, benefit is typically short-lived and extends only to tasks very similar to the trained task (i.e., near transfer). It is possible that pairing repeated performance of a WM task with brain stimulation encourages plasticity in brain networks involved in WM task performance, thereby improving the training benefit. In the current study, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) was paired with performance of a WM task (n-back). In Experiment 1, participants performed a spatial location-monitoring n-back during stimulation, while Experiment 2 used a verbal identity-monitoring n-back. In each experiment, participants received either active (2.0 mA) or sham (0.1 mA) stimulation with the anode placed over either the right or the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and the cathode placed extracephalically. In Experiment 1, only participants receiving active stimulation with the anode placed over the right DLPFC showed marginal improvement on the trained spatial n-back, which did not extend to a near transfer (verbal n-back) or far transfer task (a matrix-reasoning task designed to measure fluid intelligence). Here, in Experiment 2, both left and right anode placements led to improvement, and right DLPFC stimulation resulted in numerical (though not sham-adjusted) improvement on the near transfer (spatial n-back) and far transfer (fluid intelligence) task. Results suggest that WM training paired with brain stimulation may result in cognitive enhancement that transfers to performance on other tasks, depending on the combination of training task and tDCS parameters used.},
doi = {10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.10.011},
journal = {Neuropsychologia},
number = A,
volume = 93,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {10}
}