Neuroergonomics of Skill Acquisition: Genetic and Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation Studies
Authors: Raja Parasuraman, Pamela Greenwood, Melissa Scheldrup, Brian Falcone, Brian Kidwell, Ryan McKendrick
Abstract: The present experiments examined the effects of two neuroergonomic methods—molecular genetics and transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)—on skill acquisition in complex multitasking environments. The results of the first experiment showed that a variant of a common dopamine gene, COMT, interacted with training in supervisory control of unmanned vehicles. Individuals with the Met allele of the COMT gene showed greater trained-related gains in performance than those with the Val allele, consistent with the role of COMT in regulating dopamine availability and executive function. In the second experiment, stimulation of dorsal and ventral frontoparietal attention networks with tDCS accelerated acquisition of multitasking skill on the Space Fortress game. These findings indicate that novel neuroergonomic methods can supplement more traditional training methods for the development of expertise in complex tasks.
Keywords: Attention, COMT, Genetics, Non-invasive Brain Stimulation, Skill Acquisition, tDCS, Training
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