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Hum Brain Mapp. 2019 Mar 11. doi: 10.1002/hbm.24560. [Epub ahead of print]

Resting-state fMRI detects the effects of learning in short term: A visual search training study.

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Neuropsychology and Functional Neuroimaging Group, Department of Basic Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain.


Can resting-state functional connectivity (rs-FC) detect the impact of learning on the brain in the short term? To test this possibility, we have combined task-FC and rs-FC tested before and after a 30-min visual search training. Forty-two healthy adults (20 men) divided into no-contact control and trained groups completed the study. We studied the connectivity between four different regions of the brain involved in visual search: the primary visual area, the right posterior parietal cortex (rPPC), the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (rDLPFC), and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC). Task-FC showed increased connectivity between the rPPC and rDLPFC and between the dACC and rDLPFC from pretraining to posttraining for both the control group and the trained group, suggesting that connectivity between these areas increased with task repetition. In rs-FC, we found enhanced connectivity between these regions in the trained group after training, especially in those with better learning. Whole brain independent component analyses did not reveal any change in main networks after training. These results imply that rs-FC may not only predict individual differences in task performance, but rs-FC might also serve to monitor the impact of learning on the brain after short periods of cognitive training, localizing them in brain areas specifically involved in training.


attention; cognitive training; functional connectivity; resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging; short-term learning; visual search task


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