Training-induced plasticity in older adults: Effects of training on hemispheric asymmetry

Kirk I. Erickson, Stanley J. Colcombe, Ruchika Wadhwa, Louis Bherer, Matthew S. Peterson, Paige E. Scalf, Jennifer S. Kim, Maritza Alvarado, Arthur F. Kramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The extent to which cortical plasticity is retained in old age remains an understudied question, despite large social and scientific implications of such a result. Neuroimaging research reports individual differences in age-related activation, thereby educing speculation that some degree of plasticity may remain throughout life. We conducted a randomized longitudinal dual-task training study to investigate if performance improvements (a) change the magnitude or pattern of fMRI activation, thereby suggesting some plasticity retention in old age and (b) result in a reduction in asymmetry and an increase in age differences in fMRI activation as a compensatory model of performance-related activation predicts. Performance improvements were correlated with an increase in hemispheric asymmetry and a reduction in age differences in ventral and dorsal prefrontal activation. These results provide evidence for plasticity in old age and are discussed in relation to an alternative argument for the role of reduced asymmetry in performance improvements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-283
Number of pages12
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007


  • Aging
  • Dual-task
  • Neuroimaging
  • Plasticity
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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