The effect of executive working memory training on cognitive flexibility and its underlying neurobiological mechanisms in man and mouse: A translational study
The present study seeks to investigate the effects of working memory training on cognitive flexibility and its underlying mechanisms in both humans and mice. The study is conducted via the collaboration of the Departments of Psychology and Biology in the UoC. Stella Giakoumaki (Department of Psychology), is in charge of the human study, while Kyriaki Sidiropoulou (Department of Biology) supervises the animal study.
For the human study, 200 healthy participants will be examined and will be divided into three groups: a) fully-adapted group (participants are fully trained with an executive working memory task for six days); b) partially-adapted group (participants are partially trained with an executive working memory task for six days) and c) control group (no training).
In all three groups, cognitive flexibility is examined at a baseline session. Upon completion of the training, participants are examined with a different cognitive flexibility task.
For the animal study, 200 mice will also be tested and split into three different groups:
a) adaptive group (mice complete a delayed alternation task), b) non-adaptive group (mice complete a simple alternation task) and c) control group (no behavioural training).
Following training, attention set-shifting task, a cognitive flexibility test, will be conducted mice. In addition, humans are genetically tested for the presence of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) which affect baseline cognitive flexibility measures and mice are tested to determine neurobiological changes attributed to training, such as increased dendritic spine density, synaptic plasticity and protein expression.