Brain enhancement through cognitive training: A new insight from brain connectome

Fumihiko Taya, Yu Sun, Fabio Babiioni, Nitish Thakor, Anastasios Bezerianos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Owing to the recent advances in neurotechnology and the progress in understanding of brain cognitive functions, improvements of cognitive performance or acceleration of learning process with brain enhancement systems is not out of our reach anymore, on the contrary, it is a tangible target of contemporary research. Although a variety of approaches have been proposed, we will mainly focus on cognitive training interventions, in which learners repeatedly perform cognitive tasks to improve their cognitive abilities. In this review article, we propose that the learning process during the cognitive training can be facilitated by an assistive system monitoring cognitive workloads using electroencephalography (EEG) biomarkers, and the brain connectome approach can provide additional valuable biomarkers for facilitating leaners' learning processes. For the purpose, we will introduce studies on the cognitive training interventions, EEG biomarkers for cognitive workload, and human brain connectome. As cognitive overload and mental fatigue would reduce or even eliminate gains of cognitive training interventions, a real-time monitoring of cognitive workload can facilitate the learning process by flexibly adjusting difficulty levels of the training task. Moreover, cognitive training interventions should have effects on brain sub-networks, not on a single brain region, and graph theoretical network metrics quantifying topological architecture of the brain network can differentiate with respect to individual cognitive states as well as to different individuals' cognitive abilities, suggesting that the connectome is a valuable approach for tracking the learning progress. Although only a few studies have exploited the connectome approach for studying alterations of the brain network induced by cognitive training interventions so far, we believe that it would be a useful technique for capturing improvements of cognitive functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number44
JournalFrontiers in Systems Neuroscience
Issue numberAPR
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Biomarkers
  • Brain connectome
  • Cognitive training
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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