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Dev Cogn Neurosci [journal]
- Harsh parenting and fearfulness in toddlerhood interact to predict amplitudes of preschool error-related negativity. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Mar 25.:148-159.
Temperamentally fearful children are at increased risk for the development of anxiety problems relative to less-fearful children. This risk is even greater when early environments include high levels of harsh parenting behaviors. However, the mechanisms by which harsh parenting may impact fearful children's risk for anxiety problems are largely unknown. Recent neuroscience work has suggested that punishment is associated with exaggerated error-related negativity (ERN), an event-related potential linked to performance monitoring, even after the threat of punishment is removed. In the current study, we examined the possibility that harsh parenting interacts with fearfulness, impacting anxiety risk via neural processes of performance monitoring. We found that greater fearfulness and harsher parenting at 2 years of age predicted greater fearfulness and greater ERN amplitudes at age 4. Supporting the role of cognitive processes in this association, greater fearfulness and harsher parenting also predicted less efficient neural processing during preschool. This study provides initial evidence that performance monitoring may be a candidate process by which early parenting interacts with fearfulness to predict risk for anxiety problems.
- Neural activation associated with the cognitive emotion regulation of sadness in healthy children. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Feb 21.:136-147.
When used effectively, cognitive reappraisal of distressing events is a highly adaptive cognitive emotion regulation (CER) strategy, with impairments in cognitive reappraisal associated with greater risk for psychopathology. Despite extensive literature examining the neural correlates of cognitive reappraisal in healthy and psychiatrically ill adults, there is a dearth of data to inform the neural bases of CER in children, a key gap in the literature necessary to map the developmental trajectory of cognitive reappraisal. In this fMRI study, psychiatrically healthy schoolchildren were instructed to use cognitive reappraisal to modulate their emotional reactions and responses of negative affect after viewing sad photos. Consistent with the adult literature, when actively engaged in reappraisal compared to passively viewing sad photos, children showed increased activation in the vlPFC, dlPFC, and dmPFC as well as in parietal and temporal lobe regions. When children used cognitive reappraisal to minimize their experience of negative affect after viewing sad stimuli they exhibited dampened amygdala responses. Results are discussed in relation to the importance of identifying and characterizing neural processes underlying adaptive CER strategies in typically developing children in order to understand how these systems go awry and relate to the risk and occurrence of affective disorders.
- Folding of the anterior cingulate cortex partially explains inhibitory control during childhood: A longitudinal study. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Feb 27.:126-135.
Difficulties in cognitive control including inhibitory control (IC) are related to the pathophysiology of several psychiatric conditions. In healthy subjects, IC efficiency in childhood is a strong predictor of academic and professional successes later in life. The dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is one of the core structures responsible for IC. Although quantitative structural characteristics of the ACC contribute to IC efficiency, the qualitative structural brain characteristics contributing to IC development are less-understood. Using anatomical magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated whether the ACC sulcal pattern at age 5, a stable qualitative characteristic of the brain determined in utero, explains IC at age 9. 18 children performed Stroop tasks at age 5 and age 9. Children with asymmetrical ACC sulcal patterns (n=7) had better IC efficiency at age 5 and age 9 than children with symmetrical ACC sulcal patterns (n=11). The ACC sulcal patterns appear to affect specifically IC efficiency given that the ACC sulcal patterns had no effect on verbal working memory. Our study provides the first evidence that the ACC sulcal pattern - a qualitative structural characteristic of the brain not affected by maturation and learning after birth - partially explains IC efficiency during childhood.
- Brain volume reductions in adolescent heavy drinkers. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Feb 22.:117-125.
Brain abnormalities in adolescent heavy drinkers may result from alcohol exposure, or stem from pre-existing neural features.This longitudinal morphometric study investigated 40 healthy adolescents, ages 12-17 at study entry, half of whom (n=20) initiated heavy drinking over the 3-year follow-up. Both assessments included high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging. FreeSurfer was used to segment brain volumes, which were measured longitudinally using the newly developed quantitative anatomic regional change analysis (QUARC) tool.At baseline, participants who later transitioned into heavy drinking showed smaller left cingulate, pars triangularis, and rostral anterior cingulate volume, and less right cerebellar white matter volumes (p<.05), compared to continuous non-using teens. Over time, participants who initiated heavy drinking showed significantly greater volume reduction in the left ventral diencephalon, left inferior and middle temporal gyrus, and left caudate and brain stem, compared to substance-naïve youth (p<.05).Findings suggest pre-existing volume differences in frontal brain regions in future drinkers and greater brain volume reduction in subcortical and temporal regions after alcohol use was initiated. This is consistent with literature showing pre-existing cognitive deficits on tasks recruited by frontal regions, as well as post-drinking consequences on brain regions involved in language and spatial tasks.
- Visuospatial working memory in very preterm and term born children-Impact of age and performance. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Feb 20.:106-116.
Working memory is crucial for meeting the challenges of daily life and performing academic tasks, such as reading or arithmetic. Very preterm born children are at risk of low working memory capacity. The aim of this study was to examine the visuospatial working memory network of school-aged preterm children and to determine the effect of age and performance on the neural working memory network. Working memory was assessed in 41 very preterm born children and 36 term born controls (aged 7-12 years) using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and neuropsychological assessment. While preterm children and controls showed equal working memory performance, preterm children showed less involvement of the right middle frontal gyrus, but higher fMRI activation in superior frontal regions than controls. The younger and low-performing preterm children presented an atypical working memory network whereas the older high-performing preterm children recruited a working memory network similar to the controls. Results suggest that younger and low-performing preterm children show signs of less neural efficiency in frontal brain areas. With increasing age and performance, compensational mechanisms seem to occur, so that in preterm children, the typical visuospatial working memory network is established by the age of 12 years.
- Age-related changes in error processing in young children: A school-based investigation. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Feb 11.:93-105.
Growth in executive functioning (EF) skills play a role children's academic success, and the transition to elementary school is an important time for the development of these abilities. Despite this, evidence concerning the development of the ERP components linked to EF, including the error-related negativity (ERN) and the error positivity (Pe), over this period is inconclusive. Data were recorded in a school setting from 3- to 7-year-old children (N=96, mean age=5 years 11 months) as they performed a Go/No-Go task. Results revealed the presence of the ERN and Pe on error relative to correct trials at all age levels. Older children showed increased response inhibition as evidenced by faster, more accurate responses. Although developmental changes in the ERN were not identified, the Pe increased with age. In addition, girls made fewer mistakes and showed elevated Pe amplitudes relative to boys. Based on a representative school-based sample, findings indicate that the ERN is present in children as young as 3, and that development can be seen in the Pe between ages 3 and 7. Results varied as a function of gender, providing insight into the range of factors associated with developmental changes in the complex relations between behavioral and electrophysiological measures of error processing.
- Contributions of social and affective neuroscience to our understanding of typical and atypical development. [Editorial]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Apr.:1-6.
- Associations between maternal negative affect and adolescent's neural response to peer evaluation. [Journal Article]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Apr.:28-39.
Parenting is often implicated as a potential source of individual differences in youths' emotional information processing. The present study examined whether parental affect is related to an important aspect of adolescent emotional development, response to peer evaluation. Specifically, we examined relations between maternal negative affect, observed during parent-adolescent discussion of an adolescent-nominated concern with which s/he wants parental support, and adolescent neural responses to peer evaluation in 40 emotionally healthy and depressed adolescents. We focused on a network of ventral brain regions involved in affective processing of social information: the amygdala, anterior insula, nucleus accumbens, and subgenual anterior cingulate, as well as the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. Maternal negative affect was not associated with adolescent neural response to peer rejection. However, longer durations of maternal negative affect were associated with decreased responsivity to peer acceptance in the amygdala, left anterior insula, subgenual anterior cingulate, and left nucleus accumbens. These findings provide some of the first evidence that maternal negative affect is associated with adolescents' neural processing of social rewards. Findings also suggest that maternal negative affect could contribute to alterations in affective processing, specifically, dampening the saliency and/or reward of peer interactions during adolescence.
- Response to helfinstein & casey. [Journal Article]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Apr.:98-9.
- Commentary on Spielberg at al., "Exciting fear in adolescence: Does pubertal development alter threat processing?". [Journal Article]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Apr.:96-7.