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Predicting individuals' learning success from patterns of pre-learning MRI activity

Vo, LTK and Walther, DB and Kramer, AF and Erickson, KI and Boot, WR and Voss, MW and Prakash, RS and Lee, H and Fabiani, M and Gratton, G and Simons, DJ and Sutton, BP and Wang, MY (2011) Predicting individuals' learning success from patterns of pre-learning MRI activity. PLoS ONE, 6 (1).

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Performance in most complex cognitive and psychomotor tasks improves with training, yet the extent of improvement varies among individuals. Is it possible to forecast the benefit that a person might reap from training? Several behavioral measures have been used to predict individual differences in task improvement, but their predictive power is limited. Here we show that individual differences in patterns of time-averaged T2-weighted MRI images in the dorsal striatum recorded at the initial stage of training predict subsequent learning success in a complex video game with high accuracy. These predictions explained more than half of the variance in learning success among individuals, suggesting that individual differences in neuroanatomy or persistent physiology predict whether and to what extent people e will benefit from trainingin a complex task. Surprisingly, predictions from white matter were highly accurate, while voxels in the gray matter of the dorsal striatum did not contain any information about future training success. Prediction accuracy was higher in the anterior than the posterior half of the dorsal striatum. The link between trainability and the time-averaged T2-weighted signal in the dorsal striatum reaffirms the role of this part of the basal ganglia in learning and executive functions, such as taskswitching and task coordination processes. The ability to predict who will benefit from training by using neuroimaging data collected in the early training phase may have far-reaching implications for the assessment of candidates for specific training programs as well as the study of populations that show deficiencies in learning new skills. © 2011 Vo et al.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Walther, DB
Kramer, AF
Erickson, KIkiericks@pitt.eduKIERICKS
Boot, WR
Voss, MW
Prakash, RS
Lee, H
Fabiani, M
Gratton, G
Simons, DJ
Sutton, BP
Wang, MY
Date: 2 February 2011
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: PLoS ONE
Volume: 6
Number: 1
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016093
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Refereed: Yes
MeSH Headings: Adolescent; Basal Ganglia--physiology; Corpus Striatum--physiology; Decision Support Techniques; Female; Forecasting; Humans; Individuality; Learning--physiology; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Male; Teaching; Young Adult
Other ID: NLM PMC3021541
PubMed Central ID: PMC3021541
PubMed ID: 21264257
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2012 18:46
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 15:57


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