Neurobiological Extensions to a Mathematical Model for Performance Enhancement Observed under Conditions of Noninvasive Brain Stimulation

Abstract

With the rising importance of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to national defense, and the increased workload demands placed upon image analysts to make sense of the overwhelming volumes of data streaming in, ensuring image analyst effectiveness and reducing training time are highly relevant issues for which the Department of Defense must contend. Researchers at the Air Force Research Laboratory (McKinley, et al., 2012) are investigating the use of noninvasive brain stimulation to achieve enhanced performance with less training time, and have demonstrated visual search accuracies that are 2.5 times better for participants who received stimulation than for those who received sham or no stimulation in a militarily-relevant, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) task. This paper discusses the development of a neurobiologically-inspired cognitive model mechanism that formally captures these effects by extending existing capabilities of the Predictive Performance Equation (PPE) - a mathematical model of learning and forgetting (see Jastrzembski et al., 2009). The goal of this research is to better understand the underlying cognitive and neurobiological mechanisms responsible for the performance gains that result under conditions of noninvasive brain stimulation, so that a more thorough understanding of potential training applications may be gleaned. Methodology and implications are discussed.


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