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Prefrontal cortex contributions to controlled memory judgment: fMRI evidence from adolescents and young adults

Author(s): A. Jaeger, D. Selmeczy, A. R. O'Connor, M. Diaz, I. G. Dobbins

Cortical regions supporting cognitive control and memory judgment are structurally immature in adolescents. Here we studied adolescents (13-15 y.o.) and young adults (20-22 y.o.) using a recognition memory paradigm that modulates cognitive control demands through cues that probabilistically forecast memory probe status. Behaviorally, adolescence was associated with quicker responding in the presence of invalid cues compared to young adulthood. fMRI data demonstrated that while both groups increasingly activated posterior dorsolateral prefrontal (dlPFC), midline, and lateral parietal regions for invalidly compared to validly cued trials, this differential invalid cueing response ended sooner in adolescents, consistent with their quicker responding on invalidly cued trials. Critically, dlPFC also demonstrated reversed brain-behavior associations across the groups. Increased mean dlPFC activation during invalid cueing was linked to improved performance in young adults, whereas increases within adolescents were linked to impaired performance. Resting state connectivity analysis revealed greater connectivity between dlPFC and episodic retrieval linked regions in young adults relative to adolescents. These data demonstrate that the functional interpretation of dlPFC activation hinges on its physical maturation and suggest that the pattern of behavioral and neural response in adolescents reflects different functional integration of cognitive control and memory systems.

Full version: Available here

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ISBN: 1873-3514 (Electronic)0028-3932 (Linking)
Publication Year: 2012
Periodical: Neuropsychologia
Periodical Number: 14
Volume: 50
Pages: 3745-56
Author Address: Department of Psychology, Washington University in St Louis, Brookings Drive, Campus box 1125, St. Louis, MO 63130-4899, USA.