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Transferability of Training Benefits Differs across Neural Events: Evidence from ERPs.

Garner, Kelly G; Matthews, Natasha; Remington, Roger W; Dux, Paul E.
J Cogn Neurosci ; 27(10): 2079-94, 2015 Oct.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26042504
Humans can show striking capacity limitations in sensorimotor processing. Fortunately, these limitations can be attenuated with training. However, less fortunately, training benefits often remain limited to trained tasks. Recent behavioral observations suggest that the extent to which training transfers may depend on the specific stage of information processing that is being executed. Training benefits for a task that taps the consolidation of sensory information (sensory encoding) transfer to new stimulus-response mappings, whereas benefits for selecting an appropriate action (decision-making/response selection) remain specific to the trained mappings. Therefore, training may have dissociable influences on the neural events underlying subsequent sensorimotor processing stages. Here, we used EEG to investigate this possibility. In a pretraining baseline session, participants completed two four-alternative-choice response time tasks, presented both as a single task and as part of a dual task (with another task). The training group completed a further 3,000 training trials on one of the four-alternative-choice tasks. Hence, one task became trained, whereas the other remained untrained. At test, a negative-going component that is sensitive to sensory-encoding demands (N2) showed increased amplitudes and reduced latencies for trained and untrained mappings relative to a no-train control group. In contrast, the onset of the stimulus-locked lateralized readiness potential, a component that reflects the activation of motor plans, was reduced only for tasks that employed trained stimulus-response mappings, relative to untrained stimulus-response mappings and controls. Collectively, these results show that training benefits are dissociable for the brain events that reflect distinct sensorimotor processing stages.