Neural effects of short-term training on working memory

  • Martin BuschkuehlEmail author
  • Luis Hernandez-Garcia
  • Susanne M. Jaeggi
  • Jessica A. Bernard
  • John Jonides


Working memory training has been the focus of intense research interest. Despite accumulating behavioral work, knowledge about the neural mechanisms underlying training effects is scarce. Here, we show that 7 days of training on an n-back task led to substantial performance improvements in the trained task; furthermore, the experimental group showed cross-modal transfer, as compared with an active control group. In addition, there were two neural effects that emerged as a function of training: first, increased perfusion during task performance in selected regions, reflecting a neural response to cope with high task demand; second, increased blood flow at rest in regions where training effects were apparent. We also found that perfusion at rest was correlated with task proficiency, probably reflecting an improved neural readiness to perform. Our findings are discussed within the context of the available neuroimaging literature on n-back training.


ASL n-back Cognitive training Longitudinal fMRI Transfer 

Supplementary material

13415_2013_244_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (687 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 687 kb)


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Buschkuehl
    • 1
    • 6
    Email author
  • Luis Hernandez-Garcia
    • 2
  • Susanne M. Jaeggi
    • 3
  • Jessica A. Bernard
    • 4
    • 5
  • John Jonides
    • 4
  1. 1.MIND Research InstituteIrvineUSA
  2. 2.Functional MRI LaboratoryUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.School of EducationUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  5. 5.Department of Psychology and NeuroscienceUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA
  6. 6.MIND Research InstituteIrvineUSA

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