Task-switching training and transfer: age-related effects on late ERP components

Gaál, Zsófia Anna and Czigler, István (2018) Task-switching training and transfer: age-related effects on late ERP components. Journal of Psychophysiology, 32 (3). pp. 106-130. ISSN 2151-2124

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We used task-switching (TS) paradigms to study how cognitive training can compensate age-related cognitive decline. 39 young (age span: 18-25 years) and 40 older (age span: 60-75 years) women were assigned to training and control groups. The training group received 8 one-hour long cognitive training sessions in which difficulty level of TS was individually adjusted. The other half of the sample did not receive any intervention. The reference task was an informatively cued TS paradigm with nogo stimuli. Performance was measured on reference, near-transfer and far-transfer tasks by behavioral indicators and event-related potentials before training, one month after pretraining, and in case of older adults, one year later. The results showed that young adults had better pretraining performance. The reference task was too difficult for older adults to form appropriate representations as indicated by the behavioral data and the lack of P3b components. But after training older adults reached the level of performance of young participants, and accordingly, P3b emerged after both the cue and the target. Training gain was observed also in near-transfer tasks, and partly in far-transfer tasks; working memory and executive functions did not improve, but we found improvement in alerting and orienting networks, and in the execution of variants of TS paradigms. Behavioral and ERP changes remained preserved even after one year. These findings suggest that with an appropriate training procedure older adults can reach the level of performance seen in young adults and these changes persist for a long period. The training also affects the unpracticed tasks, but the transfer depends on the extent of task similarities.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion / filozófia, pszichológia, vallás > BF Psychology / lélektan > BF01 Psychophysiology / pszichofiziológia
Depositing User: Zsuzsanna D'Albini
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2016 13:44
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2018 09:35

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