Department of Psychology
Working memory training can improve the performance of tasks that were not trained. Whether auditory-motor integration for voice control can benefit from working memory training, however, remains unclear. The present event-related potential (ERP) study examined the impact of working memory training on the auditory-motor processing of vocal pitch. Trained participants underwent adaptive working memory training using a digit span backwards paradigm, while control participants did not receive any training. Before and after training, both trained and control participants were exposed to frequency-altered auditory feedback while producing vocalizations. After training, trained participants exhibited significantly decreased N1 amplitudes and increased P2 amplitudes in response to pitch errors in voice auditory feedback. In addition, there was a significant positive correlation between the degree of improvement in working memory capacity and the post-pre difference in P2 amplitudes. Training-related changes in the vocal compensation, however, were not observed. There was no systematic change in either vocal or cortical responses for control participants. These findings provide evidence that working memory training impacts the cortical processing of feedback errors in vocal pitch regulation. This enhanced cortical processing may be the result of increased neural efficiency in the detection of pitch errors between the intended and actual feedback.
Li, W. et al. Training of Working Memory Impacts Neural Processing of Vocal Pitch Regulation. Sci. Rep. 5, 16562; doi: 10.1038/srep16562 (2015).