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Examining neural correlates of skill acquisition in a complex videogame training program.

Prakash RS, De Leon AA, Mourany L, Lee H, Voss MW, Boot WR, Basak C, Fabiani M, Gratton G, Kramer AF - Front Hum Neurosci (2012)

Bottom Line: The HVT group demonstrated enhanced benefits of training, as indexed by an improvement in overall game score and a reduction in cortical recruitment post-training.Specifically, while both groups demonstrated a significant reduction of activation in attentional control areas, namely the right middle frontal gyrus, right superior frontal gyrus, and the ventral medial prefrontal cortex, participants in the control group continued to engage these areas post-training, suggesting a sustained reliance on attentional regions during challenging task demands.The HVT group showed a further reduction in neural resources post-training compared to the FET group in these cognitive control regions, along with reduced activation in the motor and sensory cortices and the posteromedial cortex.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.

ABSTRACT
Acquisition of complex skills is a universal feature of human behavior that has been conceptualized as a process that starts with intense resource dependency, requires effortful cognitive control, and ends in relative automaticity on the multi-faceted task. The present study examined the effects of different theoretically based training strategies on cortical recruitment during acquisition of complex video game skills. Seventy-five participants were recruited and assigned to one of three training groups: (1) Fixed Emphasis Training (FET), in which participants practiced the game, (2) Hybrid Variable-Priority Training (HVT), in which participants practiced using a combination of part-task training and variable priority training, or (3) a Control group that received limited game play. After 30 h of training, game data indicated a significant advantage for the two training groups relative to the control group. The HVT group demonstrated enhanced benefits of training, as indexed by an improvement in overall game score and a reduction in cortical recruitment post-training. Specifically, while both groups demonstrated a significant reduction of activation in attentional control areas, namely the right middle frontal gyrus, right superior frontal gyrus, and the ventral medial prefrontal cortex, participants in the control group continued to engage these areas post-training, suggesting a sustained reliance on attentional regions during challenging task demands. The HVT group showed a further reduction in neural resources post-training compared to the FET group in these cognitive control regions, along with reduced activation in the motor and sensory cortices and the posteromedial cortex. Findings suggest that training, specifically one that emphasizes cognitive flexibility can reduce the attentional demands of a complex cognitive task, along with reduced reliance on the motor network.

No MeSH data available.


Cortical areas recruited by the controls relative to the two training groups at post-training, when compared to pre-training. All axial slices are presented in radiological orientation.
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Figure 3: Cortical areas recruited by the controls relative to the two training groups at post-training, when compared to pre-training. All axial slices are presented in radiological orientation.

Mentions: In order to examine the effects of practice on neural recruitment during active game play, we conducted a whole-brain analysis contrasting brain activation during the Active > Passive condition at Time 2 > Time 1, separately comparing the control group to the training groups. A contrast of the control group and the training groups (Control > Training) showed decreased activation of the right middle frontal gyrus (rt. MFG), right superior frontal gyrus (rt. SFG), and ventral medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), for the training groups relative to the control group (Figure 3). Table 3 provides the max z-stat values in MNI space for the peak voxels in this contrast. In line with our hypothesis, these results demonstrate that videogame training, in comparison to the control condition, results in a reduced need for activation of attentional areas during game-play (Figure 3). Statistical peaks in this contrast were taken to create ROIs, which were then examined for associations with behavioral performance. For this, we conducted partial correlations, controlling for the effects of gender between game improvement from pre- to post-training and percent signal change in regions identified in the contrast of Control > Training. We found a negative relationship between game improvement and increase in activation in the right MFG (r = -0.31, p < 0.01) and a trend for a negative association for the right SFG (r = -0.22, p = 0.08), such that individuals showing a greater increase in activation of these regions from pre- to post-training also demonstrated the lowest gains in game improvement.


Examining neural correlates of skill acquisition in a complex videogame training program.

Prakash RS, De Leon AA, Mourany L, Lee H, Voss MW, Boot WR, Basak C, Fabiani M, Gratton G, Kramer AF - Front Hum Neurosci (2012)

Cortical areas recruited by the controls relative to the two training groups at post-training, when compared to pre-training. All axial slices are presented in radiological orientation.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3351675&req=5

Figure 3: Cortical areas recruited by the controls relative to the two training groups at post-training, when compared to pre-training. All axial slices are presented in radiological orientation.
Mentions: In order to examine the effects of practice on neural recruitment during active game play, we conducted a whole-brain analysis contrasting brain activation during the Active > Passive condition at Time 2 > Time 1, separately comparing the control group to the training groups. A contrast of the control group and the training groups (Control > Training) showed decreased activation of the right middle frontal gyrus (rt. MFG), right superior frontal gyrus (rt. SFG), and ventral medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), for the training groups relative to the control group (Figure 3). Table 3 provides the max z-stat values in MNI space for the peak voxels in this contrast. In line with our hypothesis, these results demonstrate that videogame training, in comparison to the control condition, results in a reduced need for activation of attentional areas during game-play (Figure 3). Statistical peaks in this contrast were taken to create ROIs, which were then examined for associations with behavioral performance. For this, we conducted partial correlations, controlling for the effects of gender between game improvement from pre- to post-training and percent signal change in regions identified in the contrast of Control > Training. We found a negative relationship between game improvement and increase in activation in the right MFG (r = -0.31, p < 0.01) and a trend for a negative association for the right SFG (r = -0.22, p = 0.08), such that individuals showing a greater increase in activation of these regions from pre- to post-training also demonstrated the lowest gains in game improvement.

Bottom Line: The HVT group demonstrated enhanced benefits of training, as indexed by an improvement in overall game score and a reduction in cortical recruitment post-training.Specifically, while both groups demonstrated a significant reduction of activation in attentional control areas, namely the right middle frontal gyrus, right superior frontal gyrus, and the ventral medial prefrontal cortex, participants in the control group continued to engage these areas post-training, suggesting a sustained reliance on attentional regions during challenging task demands.The HVT group showed a further reduction in neural resources post-training compared to the FET group in these cognitive control regions, along with reduced activation in the motor and sensory cortices and the posteromedial cortex.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.

ABSTRACT
Acquisition of complex skills is a universal feature of human behavior that has been conceptualized as a process that starts with intense resource dependency, requires effortful cognitive control, and ends in relative automaticity on the multi-faceted task. The present study examined the effects of different theoretically based training strategies on cortical recruitment during acquisition of complex video game skills. Seventy-five participants were recruited and assigned to one of three training groups: (1) Fixed Emphasis Training (FET), in which participants practiced the game, (2) Hybrid Variable-Priority Training (HVT), in which participants practiced using a combination of part-task training and variable priority training, or (3) a Control group that received limited game play. After 30 h of training, game data indicated a significant advantage for the two training groups relative to the control group. The HVT group demonstrated enhanced benefits of training, as indexed by an improvement in overall game score and a reduction in cortical recruitment post-training. Specifically, while both groups demonstrated a significant reduction of activation in attentional control areas, namely the right middle frontal gyrus, right superior frontal gyrus, and the ventral medial prefrontal cortex, participants in the control group continued to engage these areas post-training, suggesting a sustained reliance on attentional regions during challenging task demands. The HVT group showed a further reduction in neural resources post-training compared to the FET group in these cognitive control regions, along with reduced activation in the motor and sensory cortices and the posteromedial cortex. Findings suggest that training, specifically one that emphasizes cognitive flexibility can reduce the attentional demands of a complex cognitive task, along with reduced reliance on the motor network.

No MeSH data available.