Transfer of Learning After Updating Training Mediated by the Striatum

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Science  13 Jun 2008:
Vol. 320, Issue 5882, pp. 1510-1512
DOI: 10.1126/science.1155466

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Process-specific training can improve performance on untrained tasks, but the magnitude of gain is variable and often there is no transfer at all. We demonstrate transfer to a 3-back test of working memory after 5 weeks of training in updating. The transfer effect was based on a joint training-related activity increase for the criterion (letter memory) and transfer tasks in a striatal region that also was recruited pretraining. No transfer was observed to a task that did not engage updating and striatal regions, and age-related striatal changes imposed constraints on transfer. These findings indicate that transfer can occur if the criterion and transfer tasks engage specific overlapping processing components and brain regions.

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