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Publisher: Journals Gateway
Network Neuroscience (2020) 4 (3): 528–555.
Published: 01 July 2020
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AbstractView article PDF
Adherence determines the success and benefits of mental training (e.g., meditation) programs. It is unclear why some participants engage more actively in programs for mental training than others. Understanding neurobiological factors that predict adherence is necessary for understanding elements of learning and to inform better designs for new learning regimens. Clustering patterns in brain networks have been suggested to predict learning performance, but it is unclear whether these patterns contribute to motivational aspects of learning such as adherence. This study tests whether configurations of brain connections in resting-state fMRI scans can be used to predict adherence to two programs: meditation and creative writing. Results indicate that greater system segregation and clustering predict the number of practice sessions and class participation in both programs at a wide range of network thresholds (corrected p value < 0.05). At a local level, regions in subcortical circuitry such as striatum and accumbens predicted adherence in all subjects. Furthermore, there were also some important distinctions between groups: Adherence to meditation was predicted by connectivity within local network of the anterior insula and default mode network; and in the writing program, adherence was predicted by network neighborhood of frontal and temporal regions. Four machine learning methods were applied to test the robustness of the brain metric for classifying individual capacity for adherence and yielded reasonable accuracy. Overall, these findings underscore the fact that adherence and the ability to perform prescribed exercises is associated with organizational patterns of brain connectivity. Author Summary Individuals vary in their ability to adhere to learning new skills. We have found that even before individuals undergo training, their brain connectivity patterns are predictive of their capacity to perform the prescribed exercises. We report that variability in brain connectivity contributes to the capacity for adhering to prescribed learning instructions such as meditation. Thus, adherence is associated with the extent of clustering and segregation between known resting-state subnetworks. These findings indicate that system segregation is a determinant feature of the motivation to learn new mental exercises and, more specifically, is conducive for adherence to learning.
Includes: Supplementary data