A recent study published in the journal Science indicates the caudate region of the brain, located below the neocortex, is the recipient of particularly large amounts of dopamine during working memory training. This research hold up the findings of other studies that have associate working memory training to the release of dopamine to particular areas of the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is essential in the control of the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. It helps to regulate our emotional responses and physical movements.

Our working memory is the part of our brain that is needed for complex tasks, and actively holds information for such things as comprehension, reasoning and learning. According to Wikipedia, the working memory is “the cognitive processes that includes the executive and attention control of short-term memory, which provides for the interim integration, processing, disposal, and retrieval of information. Working memory is a theoretical concept central both to cognitive psychology and neuroscience.”

Just as exercise and body training improves your figure and overall health. Training for working memory enhances memory performance by increasing the blood flow and oxygen to all parts of the body, including the brain. Dopamine is released during the performance of cognitive memory functions to specific brain regions to produce the same results as body training.

The five-week study involved ten young men to view a screen three times a week where they were presented with a series of 7 to 15 letters for 45 minutes at a time. The control group received no training. Their assignment was to remember the last four letters in the sequence in correct order. A gradual improvement of working-memory performance was shown in the trained group as compared to the control group.

Immediately after training participants were given PET scans. The results indicated an increased release of dopamine in the caudate area of the brain, both during the testing and immediately after the letter-memory test.  An untrained test, taken after the training that also required working memory was given and there were elevated levels of dopamine as well, strongly suggesting that training generally improves working memory.

This study suggests that working memory training should be considered for those in need of improved working memory functioning such as those persons with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Further studies are indicated to determine which types of working memory training methods are most effective.

I am Ron White, and I am a two-time USA Memory Champion.




Memoryzine.com – Dopamine Released After Brain Training Improves Working Memory Performance: http://memoryzine.com/2011/09/11/dopamine-released-after-brain-training-improves-working-memory-performance/

Psychology Today – Dopamine: http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/dopamine

Wikipedia – Working Memory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_memory