Thanks for the cite. Reading it, I noticed that the WM training tasks
were variants on DNB, which is important - it links n-backing
specifically with physical changes, suggesting that it isn't merely
learning but capacity changing. I've mentioned it in the FAQ in the
same section as McNab's 2009 dopamine results.
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Well, we already knew about *some* physical changes, as I said, from
McNab's dopamine receptors change. But white matter changes are more
dramatic! And yes, the long-termness of the study made me much happier
about citing it when I saw it. The only way it could have been better
is if they had also administered some IQ tests and included the exact
Jaeggi 2008 DNB task instead of their variants.
> I uploaded the article White matter neuroplastic changes in long-term
> trained players of the game of
> “Baduk", which seems to hold a similar result!
Hm, haven't we discussed Go before? This is interesting, yes, but I
think kind of off-topic. The abstract discusses that some of the
increased white matter is Go-specific, and there are some other
indications that Go is mostly domain-specific:
"the authors had initially hypothesized that both
games would involve a high degree of frontal lobe function, especially
in the so-called general intelligence domain, corresponding to the
lateral prefrontal cortex (Duncan et al., 2000; Sternberg, 2000).
However, the results indicated that neither game activated the g-
intelligence area; the games primarily activated spatial mechanisms
rather than logical and computational skills."
I found this bit rather odd; so did they:
"However, Baduk experts demonstrated slightly lower IQs than did
controls (mean ± SD, 93.19 ± 10.42 for Baduk experts, 101.21 ± 13.11
for controls; t = -2.016, df = 32.910, p = 0.052) as estimated by the
Korean version of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (K-WAIS)
(Kim and Lee, 1995), and a significant difference appeared between
the two groups for level of education"
Can't be explained by appeal to Korea's history - these are all 17-21
year olds or thereabouts.
"Baduk players might tend to
concentrate on their training rather than on formal education, even as
early as childhood. The relatively shorter period of formal education
might be partially responsible for the fact that Baduk players tended to
score somewhat lower on IQ scores than did the control group (Pearson's
correlation coefficient between IQ and education was 0.285, with
p= 0.097). However, more importantly, several studies have investigat-
ed the association between superior expertise and neuropsychological
factors. Many studies have reported on the relationship between autistic
traits (including impairments in social cognition and executive functions)
and savant skills (Happé and Vital, 2009). In addition, one interesting
study investigated the cognitive costs associated with the expertise
which was acquired in adulthood. According to Woollett et al. (2009)
London taxi drivers with navigational expertise obtained from extensive
training during adulthood performed more poorly in spatial memory and
anterograde associative memory tests, in spite of increased posterior
hippocampal volumes. They also asserted that cognitive factors improved
and posterior hippocampal volumes decreased in the retried taxi drivers.
Nonetheless, it seems that their study was not able to completely exclude
genetic effects. Taken together, the lower levels of IQ among Baduk
experts than among controls may have been influenced by the
assumptive innate neuropsychological traits of the selected group or
may be related to the neurocognitive deficits caused during extensive
training in this area of expertise. However, additional comprehensive and
multi-dimensional analyses, including neuropsychological tests and
longitudinal studies, must be performed to completely understand the
complex neuro-developmental course and cognitive evolution involved
in long-term Baduk training."