Project

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NeurEcA: Does working memory training affect decision making? A NeuroEconomic study of ADHD adults and healthy controls

English title NeurEcA: Does working memory training affect decision making? A NeuroEconomic study of ADHD adults and healthy controls
Applicant Villa Alessandro
Number 138032
Funding scheme Interdisciplinary projects
Research institution Département des systèmes d'information Faculté des Hautes Etudes Commerciales
Institution of higher education University of Lausanne - LA
Main discipline Economics
Start/End 01.01.2012 - 30.06.2015
Approved amount 500'000.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Economics
Neurology, Psychiatry
Mental Disorders, Psychosomatic Diseases

Keywords (6)

decision-making; working memory training; attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); neuroeconomics; brain plasticity; EEG

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
A large number of studies demonstrate a strong correlation between general cognitive ability (i.e., general intelligence) and economic preferences. Recent studies show that rigorous working memory (WM) training can have spillover effects on fluid intelligence in normal subjects and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) patients, including on attentional tasks and inhibitory tasks in children with ADHD symptoms. This finding opens the possibility of examining the causal role of executive function on behavior and more importantly, on whether WM can be improved and if this improvement can lead to better decision-making in real-world outcomes (particulary for ADHD patients). In this project we will bring together a cross-functional team from psychiatry, neurosciences, and economics to address open issues regarding the effect of WM training on attention, inhibition, and economic decision-making in young adults with ADHD and healthy control subjects. The results will provide an objective measure of the impact of WM training on transfer of this learning to other tasks by ADHD patients and controls, and help to understand the association, or the separability, between distinct cognitive abilities. At the same time, we will evaluate the effects of WM training on brain processes using EEG during specific task performance. The results will provide important data about brain plasticity after WM training and brain networks involved in specific executive function tasks by patients and controls. In the context of an original interdisciplinary collaboration the outcome of this project will include also important policy implications on the effectiveness of cognitive training for young adult ADHD patients, of which many still struggle with strong ADHD symptoms, opening a wide range of applications. It will also provide us with new evidence on the benefits of cognitive training for healthy adult subjects, contributing to the policy discussion on self-administered medication to boost attention in high-pressure work environments.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Dynamics of Evolving Feed-Forward Neural Networks and Their Topological Invariants
Masulli Paolo, Villa Alessandro E.P. (2016), Dynamics of Evolving Feed-Forward Neural Networks and Their Topological Invariants, in Villa Alessandro E.P. (ed.), Springer Verlag, Switzerland, 99-106.
The topology of the directed clique complex as a network invariant
Masulli Paolo, Villa Alessandro E.P. (2016), The topology of the directed clique complex as a network invariant, in SpringerPlus, 5, 388.
Theoretical Models of Decision-Making in the Ultimatum Game: Fairness vs. Reason
Guy Tatiana V., Kárný Miroslav, Lintas Alessandra, Villa Alessandro E.P. (2016), Theoretical Models of Decision-Making in the Ultimatum Game: Fairness vs. Reason, in Wang Rubin (ed.), Springer, Singapore, 185-191.
Imperfect Decision Making and Risk Taking Are Affected by Personality
Mesrobian Sarah K., Bader Michel, Gotte Lorenz, Villa Alessandro E.P., Lintas Alessandra (2015), Imperfect Decision Making and Risk Taking Are Affected by Personality, in Guy Tatiana V. (ed.), Springer Verlag, Switzerland, 145-184.
Effect of Emotion and Personality on Deviation from Purely Rational Decision-Making
Fiori Marina, Lintas Alessandra, Mesrobian Sarah, Villa Alessandro E.P. (2013), Effect of Emotion and Personality on Deviation from Purely Rational Decision-Making, in Guy Tatiana V. (ed.), Springer Berlin , Heidelberg, 129-161.
Unsupervised Analysis of Event-related Potentials (ERPs) during an emotional Go/NoGo Task
Masulli Paolo, Masulli Francesco, Rovetta Stefano, Lintas Alessandra, Villa Alessandro E.P., Unsupervised Analysis of Event-related Potentials (ERPs) during an emotional Go/NoGo Task, in Loia Vincenzo (ed.), Springer Verlag, Switzerland.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof PhD Russell A. Barkley United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
12th Annual Conference of the Society for Neuroeconomics Poster Proposer’s fairness in the Ultimatum Game: An Event Related Potentials study 28.08.2016 Berlin, Germany Villa Alessandro; Lintas Alessandra;
Invited by Jody Culham, Brain and Mind Institute Individual talk Willingness-to-share revealed by event-related potentials and personality traits 18.06.2015 Western University. London, Ontario, Canada Lintas Alessandra;
5th International Conference on Cognitive Neurodynamics Talk given at a conference Theoretical models of decision-making in the Ultimatum Game: Fairness vs. Reason 03.06.2015 Sanya, China Villa Alessandro; Lintas Alessandra;
Primer curso teorico-pràctico sobre las intersecciones entre psicoanálisis y neurociencia Talk given at a conference En búsqueda de la información en nuestro cerebro: las resonancias cerebrales, de los circuitos neuronales a la neuroeconomía 08.05.2015 Segovia, Complejo Asistencia Psiquiatria, Sacyl, Spain Villa Alessandro;
11th International Neural Coding Workshop Talk given at a conference Willingness-to-share revealed by event-related potentials and personality traits 06.10.2014 Versailles, France Villa Alessandro; Mesrobian Sarah; Lintas Alessandra;
10th Annual Conference of the Society for Neuroeconomics Poster Decision-Making: An ERP Study in ADHD and Control Participants 26.09.2014 Miami, United States of America Villa Alessandro; Goette Lorenz; Bader Michel; Mesrobian Sarah; Lintas Alessandra;
9th Annual Conference of the Society for Neuroeconomics Poster Effect of Feedback Information on Neuroeconomic Performance in ADHD and Control Participants 27.09.2013 Lausanne, Switzerland Villa Alessandro; Mesrobian Sarah; Bader Michel; Lintas Alessandra; Goette Lorenz;
9th Annual Conference of the Society for Neuroeconomics Poster Event-related potentials associated with participant’s personality while performing an iterated ultimatum game 27.09.2013 Lausanne, Switzerland Mesrobian Sarah; Villa Alessandro; Lintas Alessandra;
23rd International Conference on Artificial Neural Networks (ICANN) Talk given at a conference Recurrent Neural Networks: chaotic attractors, complexity and beyond-Turing computational power 10.09.2013 Sofia, Bulgaria Villa Alessandro;
11th International Conference on Adaptive and Natural Computing Algorithms Talk given at a conference Dynamics of Evolvable Neural Networks 04.04.2013 Lausanne, Switzerland Lintas Alessandra; Villa Alessandro;
Dynamic Brain Forum Talk given at a conference Effect of emotion and personality on deviation from purely rational decision-making 03.09.2012 Carmona (Seville), Spain Mesrobian Sarah; Lintas Alessandra; Villa Alessandro;
10th International Neural Coding Workshop Talk given at a conference Event-related potentials associated to decision-making in emotionally-primed Ultimatum Game 02.09.2012 Prague, Czech Republic Villa Alessandro; Lintas Alessandra; Mesrobian Sarah;


Self-organised

Title Date Place

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Les petits déjeuners des PME et start-up, Service de la promotion économique et du commerce (SPECo) en collaboration avec les partenaires de la promotion économique du canton de Vaud Talk 04.12.2015 EPFL Innovation Park, Bâtiment D, Switzerland Villa Alessandro;
1er Forum Romand du Senior Marketing Talk 09.04.2014 Lausanne, Switzerland Villa Alessandro;
Jubilé 50 ans Socorex-Isba SA Talk 13.06.2013 Socorex-Isba SA, Ecublens (VD), Switzerland Villa Alessandro;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Comment prendre des décisions complexes face à l'incertitude ? Western Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Prise de décision en neuroéconomie: un défi à tout âge, 1er Forum Romand du Senior Marketing Western Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions La neuroéconomie ou comment fonctionne le cerveau d'un décideur Western Switzerland 2012

Awards

Title Year
Full Member of the Swiss Academy of Technical Sciences 2015

Abstract

A large number of studies demonstrate a strong correlation between general cognitive ability (i.e., general intelligence) and life success: Individuals with higher intelligence learn faster, are more productive, healthier, better leaders, and achieve better educational outcomes (Gottfredson, 1997, 2002; Gottfredson & Deary, 2004; Judge et al., 2004; Lord et al., 1986; Salgado et al., 2003; Schmidt & Hunter, 1998, 2004). At a more fundamental level, cognitive abilities are also strongly correlated with economic preferences. Individuals with better cognitive abilities are also more patient, more willing to take calculated risks, are more likely to obey norms of reciprocity, and more likely to hang on to odd jobs when the stakes are high (Dohmen et al, 2010, Burks et al., 2009; Frederick, 2005). Brain regions undergirding general intelligence include, among others, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and parietal region (Duncan et al. 1996; Jung & Haier, 2007; Kane & Engle, 2002). Intergral to having high intelligence is a well-functioning working memory (WM) (e.g, Oberauer et al., 2005) among other aspects of executive functions (EF). Recent studies show that rigorous working memory training (WMT) can have spillover effects on fluid intelligence in normal subjects (Jaeggi et al., 2008) and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) patients (Klingberg et al., 2005), including on attentional tasks and inhibitory tasks in children with ADHD symptoms (Klingberg et al., 2005). This finding opens the possibility of examining the causal role executive function on behavior and more importantly, on whether WM can be improved and if this improvement can lead to better decision-making in real-world outcomes (particulary for ADHD patients). At this time, there is a dearth of research that has investigated these effects. Moreover, the neurophysiological correlates of the fundamental processes that undergird decision-making tasks in these populations is not well known. In this project we will bring together a cross-functional team from psychiatry, neurosciences, and economics to address three open issues regarding the effect of WMT on decision-making in ADHD patients and healthy control, with important implications for all four research areas. We will investigate the impact of the effects of WMT on attention, inhibition, and economic decision-making in young adults with ADHD and healthy control subjects. Previous research has focused on the effects of WMT on children with ADHD, despite growing evidence that strong ADHD symptoms persist in adulthood. We administer a more rigorous and novel WMT to adult patients with ADHD. The results will provide an objective measure of the impact of WMT on transfer of this learning to other tasks by ADHD patients and controls, and help to understand the association, or the separability, between distinct cognitive abilities. At the same time, we will evaluate the effects of WMT on brain processes using EEG during specific task performance. We will quantify performance in EF before and after WMT and objectify its effects on brain function. The results will provide important data about brain plasticity after WMT and brain networks involved in specific EF tasks by patients and controls. It will enable us to interpret changes in behavior that may occur as a function of WMT. Finally, we will examine whether positive responders to the WMT by ADHD patients and controls have different outcomes in terms of academic adaptation. The combination of individuals with varying levels of intensity of ADHD will provide us with the possibility to examine positive responders to WMT and compare them to the less responsive to this cognitive training. Overall, the results of our study not only contribute to the theory of decision-making and neuroeconomics by providing new ways to test how EF affects choices. In the context of an original interdisciplinary collaboration the outcome of this project will include also important policy implications on the effectiveness of cognitive training for young adult ADHD patients, of which many still struggle with strong ADHD symptoms, opening a wide range of applications. It will also provide us with new evidence on the benefits of cognitive training for healthy adult subjects, contributing to the policy discussion on self-administered medication to boost attention in high-pressure work environments.
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