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Neural correlates of the improvement of cognitive performance resulting from enhanced sense of competence: A magnetoencephalography study

Takashi Matsuo, , Rika Ishida, Takayuki Minami, Takahiro Yoshikawa
Published: 23 July 2021

Abstract: The alterations in neural activity related to the improvement of cognitive performance, which would be leading to better academic performance, remain poorly understood. In the present study, we assessed neural activity related to the improvement of task performance resulting from academic rewards. Twenty healthy male volunteers participated in this study. All participants performed four sessions of a 1-back-Stroop task under both target and control conditions. An image indicating that the task performance of each participant was above average and categorized as being at almost the highest level was presented immediately after each session under the target condition, whereas a control image did not indicate task performance. Neural activity during the 1-back-Stroop task was recorded by magnetoencephalography. The correction rate of the 1-back-Stroop task in the final session relative to that in the first under the target condition was increased compared with the control condition. Correlation analysis revealed that the decreases in alpha band power in right Brodmann’s area (BA) 47 and left BA 7 were positively associated with the increased correction rate caused by the target condition. These findings are expected to contribute to a better understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying the improvement of cognitive performance.
Keywords: Sensory perception / Motivation / Magnetic resonance imaging / Bandpass filters / Computer software / Academic skills / Human learning / Magnetoencephalography

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