Poster Session F, Tuesday, March 26, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Working Memory Training with tDCS in Young Adults Induces Transfer at Follow Up
Jorja Shires1, Carlos Carrasco1,2, Marian Berryhill1; 1University of Nevada, Reno, 2University of California, Davis
Working memory (WM) is an essential executive function that allows us to maintain and manipulate information to accomplish a goal. A real WM limitation, however, is that it is limited in capacity. Efforts to expand WM capacity by training reveal mixed results. A number of studies do report improved performance on trained tasks. To augment WM training benefits a number of groups have included noninvasive brain stimulation approaches including transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). This tool modulates the underlying neural activity in a task-specific manner. In our previous work in young and older adults we found improved outcomes when WM training was paired with tDCS compared to WM training alone. In older adults, we identified significant effects that were evident one month after training across several stimulation montages. Here, we implemented an improved training protocol in young adults including follow-up testing session, pre-/post- HD-EEG, and an expanded set of WM and transfer tasks. We also manipulated the tDCS montage (anode: F4, P4, alternating F4/P4, cathode: contralateral cheek) to improve optimization. No group differences in WM performance were evident at the end of training. Follow-up testing, however, revealed a more complex pattern of results on transfer tasks indicating that changes in performance can emerge over time even in young adults. Pairing tDCS with WM training did not provide immediate benefits. The temporal dynamics of tDCS-linked cognitive performance changes is worth tracking to fully characterize training benefits.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Working memory