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Maro Machizawa, Dongho Kim, Takeo Watanabe; Perceptual training boosts separable aspects of visual attention and working memory. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):247. doi: 10.1167/13.9.247.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
While how training improves the performance on the trained task itself has been extensively studied, it remains unclear whether and, if so, how such training influences global cognitive functions such as attention and working memory. To address this question, four participants were trained on a texture discrimination task (TDT, Karni & Sagi, 1991,PNAS) on one hemifield for six days (840 trials a day). We assessed behavioral changes in attention and working memory abilities before and after the perceptual training. Specifically we examined effects of training on three attentional components (alerting, orienting, and executive filtering) measured by a Lateralized Attention Network Task (Greene, et al., 2008, Brain Cogn.) and two working memory abilities (precision and capacity) indexed by a visual-orientation working memory task (Machizawa, Goh & Driver, 2012, Psychol. Sci.). As in Karni & Sagi (1991), performance on a TDT improved due to training. With regards to working memory components, performance for the ‘precision’ of working memory (the ability to retain fewer number of items with fine-precision) showed significant improvement on the trained hemifield (T3 = 2.75, p <.05, one-tail), but not on the other hemifield (T3 = 0.21, p = .42, one-tail). The ‘capacity’ of working memory (the ability to retain a number of items with coarse-precision) significantly increased (estimated number of items can be retained, K = 3.02) compared to the pre-training baseline (K = 2.53). Notably, such improvement was observed in both hemifields irrespective of which hemifield was trained on TDT. With regards to attentional components, we found a trend of improvement for executive filtering but not for alerting or orienting components. These results demonstrate that training on a visual task not only improves the task performance but also certain aspects of cognitive functions such as attention and working memory. Furthermore, they also indicate precision and capacity of working memory are dissociated.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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