Poster A35, Saturday, March 25, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
The neuroanatomy of working memory training: A quantitative meta-analysis of fMRI studies
Oshin Vartanian1,2, Vladyslava Replete1, Quan Lam1; 1Defence Research and Development Canada, 2University of Toronto
Recently there has been great interest in the prospects of working memory (WM) training for improving cognition. Neuroimaging data can elucidate systems targeted by WM training, thus contributing to a more complete understanding of how this specific type of training can improve cognition. Toward this end, we conducted a quantitative meta-analysis of fMRI studies of WM training using the Activation Likelihood Estimation approach, employing the latest analytic recommendations (Eickhoff et al., 2016). We hypothesized that WM training would target the fronto-parietal system in the brain. Indeed, the omnibus analysis involving 29 studies and 606 subjects revealed that WM training reliably activated right middle and medial frontal gyrus, bilateral inferior parietal lobule, and right insula. The unexpected involvement of insula in WM training may be related to its role in detecting and allocating neural resources to behaviorally relevant stimuli. Next, we tested the hypothesis that training intensity—defined separately in terms of duration or frequency—would be reflected in dissociable patterns of neural activity. Training for longer durations (i.e., 40 minutes or more) was associated with activations in right middle frontal gyrus and insula; training for shorter durations was not associated with any reliable pattern of activation. In turn, training for a single session was associated with activation in left inferior parietal lobule, whereas training for multiple sessions was associated with activation in right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. These results demonstrate that variations in frequency vs. duration of training are reflected in dissociable patterns of neural activation in the fronto-parietal system.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Working memory