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Developmental cognitive neuroscience [journal]
- 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.
- Neural correlates of music-syntactic processing in two-year old children. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 May 20.:200-208.
Music is a basic and ubiquitous socio-cognitive domain. However, our understanding of the time course of the development of music perception, particularly regarding implicit knowledge of music-syntactic regularities, remains contradictory and incomplete. Some authors assume that the acquisition of knowledge about these regularities lasts until late childhood, but there is also evidence for the presence of such knowledge in four- and five-year-olds. To explore whether such knowledge is already present in younger children, we tested whether 30-month-olds (N=62) show neurophysiological responses to music-syntactically irregular harmonies. We observed an early right anterior negativity in response to both irregular in-key and out-of-key chords. The N5, a brain response usually present in older children and adults, was not observed, indicating that processes of harmonic integration (as reflected in the N5) are still in development in this age group. In conclusion, our results indicate that 30-month-olds already have acquired implicit knowledge of complex harmonic music-syntactic regularities and process musical information according to this knowledge.
- Developmental changes in the reward positivity: An electrophysiological trajectory of reward processing. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 May 4.:191-199.
Children and adolescents learn to regulate their behavior by utilizing feedback from the environment but exactly how this ability develops remains unclear. To investigate this question, we recorded the event-related brain potential (ERP) from children (8-13 years), adolescents (14-17 years) and young adults (18-23 years) while they navigated a "virtual maze" in pursuit of monetary rewards. The amplitude of the reward positivity, an ERP component elicited by feedback stimuli, was evaluated for each age group. A current theory suggests the reward positivity is produced by the impact of reinforcement learning signals carried by the midbrain dopamine system on anterior cingulate cortex, which utilizes the signals to learn and execute extended behaviors. We found that the three groups produced a reward positivity of comparable size despite relatively longer ERP component latencies for the children, suggesting that the reward processing system reaches maturity early in development. We propose that early development of the midbrain dopamine system facilitates the development of extended goal-directed behaviors in anterior cingulate cortex.
- Methods and considerations for longitudinal structural brain imaging analysis across development. [REVIEW]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 May 2.:172-190.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has allowed the unprecedented capability to measure the human brain in vivo. This technique has paved the way for longitudinal studies exploring brain changes across the entire life span. Results from these studies have given us a glimpse into the remarkably extended and multifaceted development of our brain, converging with evidence from anatomical and histological studies. Ever-evolving techniques and analytical methods provide new avenues to explore and questions to consider, requiring researchers to balance excitement with caution. This review addresses what MRI studies of structural brain development in children and adolescents typically measure and how. We focus on measurements of brain morphometry (e.g., volume, cortical thickness, surface area, folding patterns), as well as measurements derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). By integrating finding from multiple longitudinal investigations, we give an update on current knowledge of structural brain development and how it relates to other aspects of biological development and possible underlying physiological mechanisms. Further, we review and discuss current strategies in image processing, analysis techniques and modeling of brain development. We hope this review will aid current and future longitudinal investigations of brain development, as well as evoke a discussion amongst researchers regarding best practices.
- Peer pressures: Social instability stress in adolescence and social deficits in adulthood in a rodent model. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Apr 21.
Studies in animal models generate and test hypotheses regarding developmental stage-specific vulnerability that might inform research questions about human development. In both rats and humans, peer relationships are qualitatively different in adolescence than at other stages of development, and social experiences in adolescence are considered important determinants of adult social function. This review describes our adolescent rat social instability stress model and the long-lasting effects social instability has on social behaviour in adulthood as well as the possible neural underpinnings. Effects of other adolescent social stress experiences in rats on social behaviours in adulthood also are reviewed. We discuss the role of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) function and glucocorticoid release in conferring differential susceptibility to social experiences in adolescents compared to adults. We propose that although differential perception of social experiences rather than immature HPA function may underlie the heightened vulnerability of adolescents to social instability, the changes in the trajectory of brain development and resultant social deficits likely are mediated by the heightened glucocorticoid release in response to repeated social stressors in adolescence compared to in adulthood.
- Social cognition, face processing, and oxytocin receptor single nucleotide polymorphisms in typically developing children. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Apr 16.:160-171.
Recent research has provided evidence of a link between behavioral measures of social cognition (SC) and neural and genetic correlates. Differences in face processing and variations in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene have been associated with SC deficits and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) traits. Much work has examined the qualitative differences between those with ASD and typically developing (TD) individuals, but very little has been done to quantify the natural variation in ASD-like traits in the typical population. The present study examines this variation in TD children using a multidimensional perspective involving behavior assessment, neural electroencephalogram (EEG) testing, and OXTR genotyping. Children completed a series of neurocognitive assessments, provided saliva samples for sequencing, and completed a face processing task while connected to an EEG. No clear pattern emerged for EEG covariates or genotypes for individual OXTR single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). However, SNPs rs2254298 and rs53576 consistently interacted such that the AG/GG allele combination of these SNPs was associated with poorer performance on neurocognitive measures. These results suggest that neither SNP in isolation is risk-conferring, but rather that the combination of rs2254298(A/G) and rs53576(G/G) confers a deleterious effect on SC across several neurocognitive measures.
- 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.