Poster Session B, Sunday, March 24, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Brain activity during a cognitive flexibility task relates to IQ and reading ability in children
Mackenzie E. Mitchell1, Tehila Nugiel1, Mary Abbe Roe1, Jessica A. Church1; 1The University of Texas at Austin
Executive functions, or the processes supporting goal-oriented behaviors, are important predictors of academic success. Few studies have specifically examined the relationship between academic achievement and cognitive flexibility, the slow-to-mature ability to flexibly manipulate information, in the developing brain. As part of a larger study, children (N=56, mean age 12.71, ages 8-18, 28 with ADHD) performed an fMRI cognitive flexibility task: a rule-matching game with cue-only trials to separate brain activity related to preparation from task execution. To investigate how behavioral measures associated with academic achievement differentially relate to brain activity, we related behavioral measures of IQ (WASI-2; Wechsler, 2011) and reading ability (TOWRE-2; Torgesen et al., 2012) to neural activity during the preparatory and execution periods of the task. We found that age was positively associated with activity in the preparatory period; age also had no relation to activity during task execution. Interestingly, we found no effects of IQ or reading ability during the preparatory period, but motor and control activity during the execution period was positively associated with higher scores on these measures. These results held consistent within the subgroup of typically developing individuals (N=24). Preliminary results find that the ability to engage motor and control regions during task execution is related to better performance on behavioral measures of academic achievement. Further, younger children show less activity in control regions during the preparatory period but not during the execution period, consistent with previous work that supports a reactive control strategy in children (Church et al., 2017).
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Development & aging