Poster D27, Monday, March 26, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Metacognitive Training Induces Neurodevelopmental Changes in Prefrontal Regions
Kshipra Gurunandan1, M. Rosario Rueda2, Sonia Guerra2, Manuel Carreiras1,3, Pedro M. Paz-Alonso1; 1Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, 2Universidad de Granada, 3Ikerbasque - Basque Foundation for Science
Research evidence has revealed that high cognitive functions are susceptible to practice-related improvements, with strong empirical support showing the positive effects of some cognitive training programs on the specific functions being trained. In contrast, evidence for transfer effects to other non-trained domains is more mixed. Recently it has been shown that the use of metacognitive versus standard training protocols can boost the impact of training executive functions in children. Little is known, however, about the neurodevelopmental changes associated with training higher cognitive functions using metacognitive strategies in childhood. The present fMRI study was aimed at investigating neural changes induced by training executive functions in middle childhood children. A total of 55 children aged 8-10 years underwent 8 training sessions over 2-3 weeks, during which they were either presented with computer-based exercises of increasing difficulty to train attention and executive control using a metacognitive protocol or an equally long control intervention wherein they performed the lower levels of difficulty of the same exercises. All participants underwent pre- and post-training fMRI sessions where they performed a block-design cognitive control task based on the hearts-and-flowers task. Metacognitive training improved participants’ working memory, as well as fluid reasoning skills behaviorally. Neuroimaging data revealed that training exclusively enhanced the engagement of frontal regions (dlPFC, right IFG, anterior cingulate) associated with the core functions involved in the fMRI control task: working memory, response inhibition, and executive functioning. Transfer to fluid intelligence may rely on the overlapping neuroanatomy between this function and of the functions being trained.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Development & aging