Poster C115, Sunday, March 25, 1:00-3:00 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Alpha Oscillatory Synchrony underlying Working Memory Maintenance in Children
Julie Sato1,2, Sarah Mossad1,2, Simeon Wong2, Benjamin Hunt2, Benjamin Dunkley1,2, Mary Lou Smith1,2, Margot Taylor1,2; 1The Hospital for Sick Children, 2University of Toronto
Working Memory (WM) is a critical ability that supports a wide range of cognitive functions, and is highly associated with general intelligence and academic achievement. Although functional MRI studies have highlighted a network of regions involved in WM in adults, little is known about how these networks develop in children to support successful WM performance. Using magnetoencephalography (MEG), we examined the dynamic network structures underlying the maintenance of visual information in WM in 6-year-old children. We observed stronger and more stable connectivity in the alpha frequency band (8 to 14 Hz) during the retention interval associated with correct compared to incorrect trials. Importantly, this effect was found to be specific to the alpha band, with no other frequency bands showing significant differences between correct and incorrect trials. This difference in connectivity may be attributed to fluctuations in attention that are necessary to sustain representations in WM. Additionally, our network analysis revealed elevated alpha synchronization during WM maintenance compared to baseline, in a distributed network of frontal, parietal, and temporal regions. Central hubs in the network were lateralized to the left hemisphere, including the middle frontal gyrus, middle temporal gyrus and superior temporal gyrus. Our results suggest that alpha inter-regional synchrony is an important mechanism for sustaining memory of visual stimuli and is already active in young children.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Working memory