► The accurate detection of concealed objects was an important skill during human evolution, and is required today for many forms of expertise.
► In this study, changes in brain function were examined as subjects learned to identify objects concealed in a naturalistic virtual environment.
► Brain networks found to be more active after training included frontal, temporal-parietal, medial temporal and cingulate brain regions.
► tDCS over right inferior frontal and right parietal cortex resulted in up to two-fold improvement in learning and performance.
► tDCS guided using neuroimaging may provide an effective method to reduce training time for a variety of complex skills.