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Brain Cogn. 2018 Dec;128:46-55. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2018.11.004. Epub 2018 Nov 20.

Improving innovative decision-making: Training-induced changes in fronto-parietal networks.

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Scuola Universitaria Superiore IUSS Pavia, Pavia, Italy; Division of Neuroscience, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy. Electronic address:
MTEC, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
Division of Neuroscience, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy; NIMTlab: Neuroimaging and Innovative Molecular Tracers Laboratory, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
Scuola Universitaria Superiore IUSS Pavia, Pavia, Italy; IRCCS Fatebenefratelli di Brescia, Brescia, Italy.
Invernizzi Center for Research in Innovation, Organization and Strategy, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy.
Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy; Neuroradiology Unit, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.
Scuola Universitaria Superiore IUSS Pavia, Pavia, Italy; Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, ICS Maugeri, Pavia, Italy.


Innovative decision-making entails the balance of exploitative and explorative choices, and has been linked to the efficiency of executive functioning, including working-memory and attentional skills, associated with fronto-parietal networks. Based on the notion that such skills can be improved by cognitive training, we assessed whether a cognitive training enhancing basic executive skills might also improve the ability to manage the exploration-exploitation trade-off and its financial consequences, and whether any improvement in training-related performance would be reflected in neurostructural changes within fronto-parietal networks. Eighteen subjects participated in a baseline assessment, a training period and a follow-up measurement, while a matched group of 18 subjects did not undertake the training program. A subgroup of subjects underwent a multimodal MRI study to explore training-related changes in grey-matter volume and white-matter microstructure. After training, increased efficiency of innovative decision-making, related to the improvement of executive control skills, reflected neurostructural changes involving the right fronto-polar cortex and left superior longitudinal fasciculus. The quality of innovative decision-making can be improved by ad-hoc cognitive training procedures focused on executive skills, promoting neurostructural changes in fronto-parietal networks. The manifold implications involve both managerial and rehabilitative settings concerned with the quality of choices in normal and pathological conditions, respectively.


Cognitive training; Decision-making; Exploration-exploitation dilemma; Far-transfer effects; Fronto-parietal networks

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