Understanding the Neural Basis of Working IVIemory to Improve WIVI Function The purpose of this proposal is to conduct basic research to understand the neural correlates of working memory. The second purpose is to then apply our findings to improve working memory function in the healthy aging and in those with traumatic brain injury through novel neurostimulation protocols. First, we will use functional neuroimaging (fMRI) to test two contradictory theoretical viewpoints regarding the role of the posterior parietal cortex in working memory. It is important to understand the role of the posterior parietal cortex to appropriately design therapeutic studies for improving working memory. Thus, the results from the first experiments will guide the design and predicted outcomes ofthe applied experiments in which transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is applied to special populations. TDCS is thought to improve cognitive function through several mechanisms. The tDCS technique involves the application of a safe, low level of electrical current to the scalp. The electrical current passes into the cortex and can transiently increase or decrease the likelihood of neurononal firing in the cortex, and it may also increase the activity in white matter tracts to overcome white matter damage. We predict that anodal (+) tDCS applied to the prefrontal and/or parietal cortices, will improve visuospatial and verbal working memory function by increasing the underactivity of cortical activations in the healthy aging. In a longitudinal study of working memory, we will apply parietal, prefrontal or alternating parietal/prefrontal anodal tDCS to separate groups of healthy aging individuals. The duration of improvement will be tested by bringing participants in for a final behavioral session one month after their final tDCS session. The second set of applied experiments will test whether tDCS can also be used effectively to improve cognitive function in participants with mild or moderate traumatic brain injury. In these participants, there is is often white matter damage. We will conduct experiments to see if alternating parietal/prefrontal tDCS stimulation will improve visuospatial or verbal working memory in those with traumatic brain injury.

Public Health Relevance

Working memory underlies cognition. This proposal improves our understanding ofthe neural correlates of working memory. These findings are then applied to improve working memory function in two large special populations: the healthy aging and those with traumatic brain injury.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRR1-RI-4)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Nevada Reno
United States
Zip Code
Leonard, Anne S; Masek, Pavel (2014) Multisensory integration of colors and scents: insights from bees and flowers. J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol 200:463-74
Kim, Minkyung; Farmer, W Todd; Bjorke, Brielle et al. (2014) Pioneer midbrain longitudinal axons navigate using a balance of Netrin attraction and Slit repulsion. Neural Dev 9:17
Gruner, Matthew; Nelson, Dru; Winbush, Ari et al. (2014) Feeding state, insulin and NPR-1 modulate chemoreceptor gene expression via integration of sensory and circuit inputs. PLoS Genet 10:e1004707
McCarthy, J Daniel; Caplovitz, Gideon Paul (2014) Color synesthesia improves color but impairs motion perception. Trends Cogn Sci 18:224-6
Masek, Pavel; Reynolds, Lauren A; Bollinger, Wesley L et al. (2014) Altered regulation of sleep and feeding contributes to starvation resistance in Drosophila melanogaster. J Exp Biol 217:3122-32
Peterson, Dwight J; Gurariy, Gennadiy; Dimotsantos, Gabriella G et al. (2014) The steady-state visual evoked potential reveals neural correlates of the items encoded into visual working memory. Neuropsychologia 63:145-53
Wu, Jingwen; Bao, Jianqiang; Kim, Minkyung et al. (2014) Two miRNA clusters, miR-34b/c and miR-449, are essential for normal brain development, motile ciliogenesis, and spermatogenesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111:E2851-7
Gözenman, Filiz; Tanoue, Ryan T; Metoyer, Terina et al. (2014) Invalid retro-cues can eliminate the retro-cue benefit: Evidence for a hybridized account. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 40:1748-54
Janczyk, Markus; Berryhill, Marian E (2014) Orienting attention in visual working memory requires central capacity: decreased retro-cue effects under dual-task conditions. Atten Percept Psychophys 76:715-24
Jones, Kevin T; Gözenman, Filiz; Berryhill, Marian E (2014) Enhanced long-term memory encoding after parietal neurostimulation. Exp Brain Res 232:4043-54

Showing the most recent 10 out of 20 publications