Visual working memory (VWM) training has been shown to improve performance in trained tasks with limited transfer to untrained tasks. The neural mechanism underlying this limited transfer remains unknown. In the present study, this issue was addressed by combining model-fitting methods with EEG recordings. Participants were trained on a color delay estimation task for 12 consecutive 1-hr sessions, and the transfer effect was evaluated with an orientation change detection task. The EEG responses during both tasks were collected in a pretraining test, a posttraining test conducted 1 day after training, and a follow-up test conducted 3 months after training. According to our model-fitting results, training significantly improved the capacity but not the precision of color working memory (WM), and this capacity improvement did not transfer to the orientation change detection task, spatial 2-back task, symmetry span task, or Raven reasoning test. The EEG results revealed that training resulted in a specific and sustained increase in parietal theta power suppression in the color WM task, which reflected individual color WM capacity. In contrast, the increase in parietal–temporal alpha power, which reflected individual orientation WM capacity, did not change with training. Together, these findings suggest that the simultaneous change of stimulus type and task structure would modulate the cognitive and neural substrates of WM tasks and introduce additional constraints for the transfer of WM training.

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