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Dev Cogn Neurosci [journal]
- Development of abstract thinking during childhood and adolescence: The role of rostrolateral prefrontal cortex. [REVIEW]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Aug 12.:57-76.
Rostral prefrontal cortex (RPFC) has increased in size and changed in terms of its cellular organisation during primate evolution. In parallel emerged the ability to detach oneself from the immediate environment to process abstract thoughts and solve problems and to understand other individuals' thoughts and intentions. Rostrolateral prefrontal cortex (RLPFC) is thought to play an important role in supporting the integration of abstract, often self-generated, thoughts. Thoughts can be temporally abstract and relate to long term goals, or past or future events, or relationally abstract and focus on the relationships between representations rather than simple stimulus features. Behavioural studies have provided evidence of a prolonged development of the cognitive functions associated with RLPFC, in particular logical and relational reasoning, but also episodic memory retrieval and prospective memory. Functional and structural neuroimaging studies provide further support for a prolonged development of RLPFC during adolescence, with some evidence of increased specialisation of RLPFC activation for relational integration and aspects of episodic memory retrieval. Topics for future research will be discussed, such as the role of medial RPFC in processing abstract thoughts in the social domain, the possibility of training abstract thinking in the domain of reasoning, and links to education.
- Neocerebellar contributions to social perception in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Aug 14.:77-92.
Posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) is specialized for interpreting perceived human actions, and disruptions to its function occur in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Here we consider the role of Crus I of neocerebellum in supporting pSTS function. Research has associated Crus I activity with imitation and biological motion perception, and neocerebellum is theorized to coordinate activity among cerebral sites more generally. Moreover, cerebellar abnormalities have been associated with ASD. We hypothesized that disordered Crus I-pSTS interactions could predict social deficits in ASD. 15 high functioning adolescents with ASD and 15 same-age comparison youth participated in an fMRI imitation paradigm; ratings of mentalizing ability were collected via parent report. We predicted that stronger Crus I-pSTS interactions would be associated with better mentalizing ability. Consistent with these hypotheses, stronger psychophysiological interactions between Crus I and right pSTS were associated with greater mentalizing ability among adolescents with ASD. Whole-brain analyses also indicated that typically developing youth recruited right inferior frontal gyrus, left pSTS, medial occipital regions, and precuneus more strongly during imitation than did youth with ASD. Overall, these results indicate that variability in neocerebellar interactions with key cortical social brain sites may help explain individual differences in social perceptual outcomes in ASD.
- Averaging, not internal noise, limits the development of coherent motion processing. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Aug 1.:44-56.
The development of motion processing is a critical part of visual development, allowing children to interact with moving objects and navigate within a dynamic environment. However, global motion processing, which requires pooling motion information across space, develops late, reaching adult-like levels only by mid-to-late childhood. The reasons underlying this protracted development are not yet fully understood. In this study, we sought to determine whether the development of motion coherence sensitivity is limited by internal noise (i.e., imprecision in estimating the directions of individual elements) and/or global pooling across local estimates. To this end, we presented equivalent noise direction discrimination tasks and motion coherence tasks at both slow (1.5°/s) and fast (6°/s) speeds to children aged 5, 7, 9 and 11 years, and adults. We show that, as children get older, their levels of internal noise reduce, and they are able to average across more local motion estimates. Regression analyses indicated, however, that age-related improvements in coherent motion perception are driven solely by improvements in averaging and not by reductions in internal noise. Our results suggest that the development of coherent motion sensitivity is primarily limited by developmental changes within brain regions involved in integrating motion signals (e.g., MT/V5).
- Developmental continuity in reward-related enhancement of cognitive control. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Aug 2.:34-43.
Adolescents engage in more risky behavior than children or adults. The most prominent hypothesis for this phenomenon is that brain systems governing reward sensitivity and brain systems governing self-regulation mature at different rates. Those systems governing reward sensitivity mature in advance of those governing self-control. This hypothesis has substantial empirical support, however, the evidence supporting this theory has been exclusively derived from contexts where self-control systems are required to regulate reward sensitivity in order to promote adaptive behavior. In adults, reward promotes a shift to a proactive control strategy and better cognitive control performance. It is unclear whether children and adolescents will respond to reward in the same way. Using fMRI methodology, we explored whether children and adolescents would demonstrate a shift to proactive control in the context of reward. We tested 22 children, 20 adolescents, and 23 adults. In contrast to our hypothesis, children, adolescents, and adults all demonstrated a shift to proactive cognitive control in the context of reward. In light of the results, current neurobiological theories of adolescent behavior need to be refined to reflect that in certain contexts there is continuity in the manner reward and cognitive control systems interact across development.
- Development in the neurophysiology of emotion processing and memory in school-age children. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Aug 2.:21-33.
In the adult literature, emotional arousal is regarded as a source of the enhancing effect of emotion on subsequent memory. Here, we used behavioral, electrophysiological, and psychophysiological methods to examine the role of emotional arousal on subsequent memory in school-age children. Five- to 8-year-olds, divided into younger and older groups, viewed emotional scenes as EEG, heart rate, and respiration was recorded, and participated in a memory task 24hours later where EEG and behavioral responses were recorded; participants provided subjective ratings of the scenes after the memory task. All measures indicated emotion responses in both groups, and in ERP measures the effects were stronger for older children. Emotion responses were more consistent across measures for negative than positive stimuli. Behavioral memory performance was strong but did not differ by emotion condition. Emotion influenced the ERP index of recognition memory in the older group only (enhanced recognition of negative scenes). The findings an increasing interaction of emotion and memory during the school years. Further, the findings impress the value of combining multiple methods to assess emotion and memory in development. Development in the neurophysiology of emotion processing and memory in school-age children.
- Dissociation between face perception and face memory in adults, but not children, with developmental prosopagnosia. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Aug 1.:10-20.
Cognitive models propose that face recognition is accomplished through a series of discrete stages, including perceptual representation of facial structure, and encoding and retrieval of facial information. This implies that impaired face recognition can result from failures of face perception, face memory, or both. Studies of acquired prosopagnosia, autism spectrum disorders, and the development of normal face recognition support the idea that face perception and face memory are distinct processes, yet this distinction has received little attention in developmental prosopagnosia (DP). To address this issue, we tested the face perception and face memory of children and adults with DP. By definition, face memory is impaired in DP, so memory deficits were present in all participants. However, we found that all children, but only half of the adults had impaired face perception. Thus, results from adults indicate that face perception and face memory are dissociable, while the results from children provide no evidence for this division. Importantly, our findings raise the possibility that DP is qualitatively different in childhood versus adulthood. We discuss theoretical explanations for this developmental pattern and conclude that longitudinal studies are necessary to better understand the developmental trajectory of face perception and face memory deficits in DP.
- The development of object recognition memory in rhesus macaques with neonatal lesions of the perirhinal cortex. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Jul 21.
To investigate the role of the perirhinal cortex on the development of recognition measured by the visual paired-comparison (VPC) task, infant monkeys with neonatal perirhinal lesions and sham-operated controls were tested at 1.5, 6, 18, and 48 months of age on the VPC task with color stimuli and intermixed delays of 10s, 30s, 60s, and 120s. Monkeys with neonatal perirhinal lesions showed an increase in novelty preference between 1.5 and 6 months of age similar to controls, although at these two ages, performance remained significantly poorer than that of control animals. With age, performance in animals with neonatal perirhinal lesions deteriorated as compared to that of controls. In contrast to the lack of novelty preference in monkeys with perirhinal lesions acquired in adulthood, novelty preference in the neonatally operated animals remained above chance at all delays and all ages. The data suggest that, although incidental recognition memory processes can be supported by the perirhinal cortex in early infancy, other temporal cortical areas may support these processes in the absence of a functional perirhinal cortex early in development. The neural substrates mediating incidental recognition memory processes appear to be more widespread in early infancy than in adulthood.
- Broken or maladaptive? Altered trajectories in neuroinflammation and behavior after early life adversity. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Jul 11.
Exposure to adversity and stress early in development yields vulnerability to mental illnesses throughout the lifespan. Growing evidence suggests that this vulnerability has mechanistic origins involving aberrant development of both neurocircuitry and neuro-immune activity. Here we review the current understanding of when and how stress exposure initiates neuroinflammatory events that interact with brain development. We first review how early life adversity has been associated with various psychopathologies, and how neuroinflammation plays a role in these pathologies. We then summarize data and resultant hypotheses describing how early life adversity may particularly alter neuro-immune development with psychiatric consequences. Finally, we review how sex differences contribute to individualistic vulnerabilities across the lifespan. We submit the importance of understanding how stress during early development might cause outright neural or glial damage, as well as experience-dependent plasticity that may insufficiently prepare an individual for sex-specific or life-stage specific challenges.
- Motor fMRI and cortical grey matter volume in adults born very preterm. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Jun 17.:1-9.
The primary aim of this study was to investigate the functional neuroanatomy of motor planning, initiation and execution in a cohort of young adults (mean age 20 years) who were born very preterm (VPT; <33 weeks of gestation), as these individuals are at increased risk of experiencing neuromotor difficulties compared to controls. A cued motor task was presented to 20 right-handed VPT individuals and 20 controls within a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) paradigm. Whole-brain grey matter volume was also quantified and associations with functional data were examined. Despite comparable task performance, fMRI results showed that the VPT group displayed greater brain activation compared to controls in a region comprising the right cerebellum and the lingual, parahippocampal and middle temporal gyri. The VPT group also displayed decreased grey matter volume in the right superior frontal/premotor cortex and left middle temporal gyri. Grey matter volume in the premotor and middle temporal clusters was significantly negatively correlated with BOLD activation in the cerebellum. Overall, these data suggest that preterm birth is associated with functional neuronal differences that persist into adulthood, which are likely to reflect neural reorganisation following early brain injury.
- Is "efficiency" a useful concept in cognitive neuroscience? [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Jun 13.
It is common in the cognitive neuroscience literature to explain differences in activation in terms of differences in the "efficiency" of neural function. I argue here that this usage of the concept of efficiency is empty and simply redescribes activation differences rather than providing a useful explanation of them. I examine a number of possible explanations for differential activation in terms of task performance, neuronal computation, neuronal energetics, and network organization. While the concept of "efficiency" is vacuous as it is commonly employed in the neuroimaging literature, an examination of brain development in the context of neural coding, neuroenergetics, and network structure provides a roadmap for future investigation, which is fundamental to an improved understanding of developmental effects and group differences in neuroimaging signals.