Poster A43, Saturday, March 25, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Evaluating Moderators in the Use of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation with Working Memory Training
Jacky Au1, Benjamin Katz3, Sheebani Talati3, Seung-Min Moon1, Kimberly Bunarjo1, Benjamin Gibson1, Martin Buschkuehl2, Tessa Abagis3, Chelsea Zabel3, Susanne Jaeggi1, John Jonides3; 1University of California, Irvine, 2MIND Research Institute - Irvine, CA, 3University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
There has been significant interest in the use of non-invasive brain stimulation, and in particular transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), to improve the outcome of computerized working memory (WM) training. The findings across these recent studies, including meta-analytic work, is mixed, however. This is unsurprising given the heterogeneity across studies, both in terms of methods as well as participant cohorts. Herein, we report the results of several experiments evaluating the impact of several important moderators of the tDCS effect over the course of one week of computerized training on the n-back WM task. These moderators include baseline WM ability, timing of stimulation delivery (online with task performance vs. offline immediately before or after task), and EEG spectral parameters. Although our results showed enhanced WM training performance in groups receiving tDCS relative to sham stimulation, we demonstrate important interactions with baseline ability such that lower baseline abilities predicted greater tDCS effects (Beta = -.47), while high-baseline individuals all showed strong gains irrespective of tDCS. We conclude that tDCS holds promise as a tool to enhance the benefits of cognitive training, and can be particularly useful in increasing the utility of such interventions for a broader range of individuals, especially those starting with lower abilities who may otherwise have difficulty accessing the benefits of training.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Working memory