Poster A21, Saturday, March 24, 1:30–3:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Behavioral and Brain-Imaging Predictors of Working Memory Plasticity in Younger and Older Adults
Alexandru D. Iordan1, Katherine A. Cooke1, Kyle D. Moored2, Benjamin Katz3, Sneha Rajen1, Martin Buschkuehl4, Susanne M. Jaeggi5, John Jonides1, Scott J. Peltier1, Thad A. Polk1, Patricia A. Reuter-Lorenz1; 1University of Michigan, 2Johns Hopkins University, 3Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 4MIND Research Institute, 5University of California, Irvine
Adaptive working memory (WM) training improves WM performance in both young (YA) and older (OA) adults, although benefits may be reduced in OA. Current frameworks of cognitive plasticity propose two components of performance change, specifically (1) within and (2) beyond the range of baseline capacity. However, little is known about the influences of age versus individual differences in baseline psychological (cognitive and motivational) characteristics and brain (functional organization) properties on these two components of plasticity. We investigated these issues in 22 YA and 19 OA who underwent 10 days of computerized WM training, in conjunction with neuropsychological and resting-state functional MRI assessments acquired before training. Both YA and OA improved on the WM task over the course of training, but YA showed a steeper initial learning slope than OA, as modeled by linear spline regression, suggesting greater gains within their range of baseline capacity. Furthermore, baseline cognitive measures (verbal WM and fluid intelligence) predicted greater initial slope for OA, whereas motivation (need for cognition) predicted greater later slope for YA. Finally, brain-wide network properties showed associations, albeit limited, with initial slope in OA; specifically, modularity and local efficiency showed positive correlations, whereas global efficiency showed negative correlation with initial learning slope. Together, these results add credence to a two-component account of WM plasticity and suggest that while OA with higher baseline cognitive and brain function may improve rapidly initially, higher motivation and general interest may be better predictors of sustained performance improvement, particularly for YA.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Development & aging