Training, Transfer, and the Striatum

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Science  13 Jun 2008:
Vol. 320, Issue 5882, pp. 1392
DOI: 10.1126/science.320.5882.1392k

Training causes task-specific performance enhancement and altered patterns of brain activity. Training can also improve performance of untrained related or transfer tasks. Dahlin et al. (p. 1510) trained human subjects on a letter memory task for several weeks. Compared to controls, these subjects showed significant improvements over time, and this training also improved an untrained, but related task. No transferred improvement was observed in an unrelated task. Simultaneous brain-imaging scans revealed that transfer after updating training was mediated by the striatum, in line with predictions from computational modeling that the striatum plays a key role in updating working memory.

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