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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 9696402, 12 pages
Research Article

Inhibition Plasticity in Older Adults: Practice and Transfer Effects Using a Multiple Task Approach

1Department of Psychology, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, Canada M5B 2K3
2Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 3G8

Received 21 August 2015; Revised 24 October 2015; Accepted 27 October 2015

Academic Editor: Jyoti Mishra

Copyright © 2016 Andrea J. Wilkinson and Lixia Yang. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To examine plasticity of inhibition, as indexed by practice effects of inhibition tasks and the associated transfer effects, using a multiple task approach in healthy older adults. Method. Forty-eight healthy older adults were evenly assigned to either a practice group or a no-contact control group. All participants completed pretest (2.5 hours) and posttest (2 hours) sessions, with a 2-week interval in between. During the 2-week interval, only the practice group completed six 30-minute practice sessions (three sessions per week for two consecutive weeks) of three lab-based inhibition tasks. Results. All three inhibition tasks demonstrated significant improvement across practice sessions, suggesting practice-induced plasticity. The benefit, however, only transferred to near-near tasks. The results are inconclusive with regard to the near-far and far-far transfer effects. Discussion. This study further extends literature on practice effects of inhibition in older adults by using a multiple task approach. Together with previous work, the current study suggests that older adults are able to improve inhibition performance through practice and transfer the practice gains to tasks that overlap in both target cognitive ability and task structure (i.e., near-near tasks).