When the brain is prepared to learn: Enhancing human learning using real-time fMRI

Julie J. Yoo, Oliver Hinds, Noa Ofen, Todd W. Thompson, Susan Whitfield-Gabrieli, Christina Triantafyllou, John D.E. Gabrieli
2012 NeuroImage  
The rate of learning or memory formation varies over time for any individual, partly due to moment-to-moment fluctuation of brain state. Functional neuroimaging has revealed the neural correlates of learning and memory, but here we asked if neuroimaging can causally enhance human learning by detection of brain states that reveal when a person is prepared or not prepared to learn. The parahippocampal cortex (PHC) is essential for memory formation for scenes. Here, activation in PHC was monitored
more » ... in real-time, and scene presentations were triggered when participants entered "good" or "bad" brain states for learning of novel scenes. Subsequent recognition memory was more accurate for scenes presented in "good" than "bad" brain states. These findings show that neuroimaging can identify in real-time brain states that enhance or depress learning and memory formation, and knowledge about such brain states may be useful for accelerating education and training. Further, the use of functional neuroimaging as a causal, rather than correlative, tool to study the human brain may open new insights into the neural basis of human cognition.
doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.07.063 pmid:21821136 pmcid:PMC4230014 fatcat:2y6hwrpmejfl7mmvqjodx7q3xe