Poster B43, Sunday, March 25, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Brain Activity During Executive Tasks Predicts Individual Differences in Reading Ability
Kai Wang1, Marie Banich1, Daniel Leopold1, Andrew Reineberg1, Laurie Cutting2, Lee Thompson3, Erik Willcutt1, Stephen Petrill4; 1University of Colorado Boulder, 2Vanderbilt University, 3Case Western Reserve University, 4Ohio State University
Previous evidence suggests that reading ability may be influenced, in part, by domain-general aspects of executive function (EF). Yet little is known about how individual differences in brain mechanisms supporting EF might influence individual differences in reading, a question we investigated here in a sample of adolescents in their late teens. We acquired fMRI data in an overlapping sample of individuals on two tasks: an N-back task (N=249, mean age=17.06, SD=1.57), which assesses executive aspects of working memory, and a reading comprehension task (N=234, mean age=17.13). An individual’s level of ability in each domain was determined by measures obtained outside the magnet. GLM covariate analyses were performed for each task to isolate those brain regions whose activation is associated with level of ability. Three methods were used to determine which regions associated with reading ability are also associated with EF. First, we masked our reading covariate map by brain regions that consistently activate during EF tasks across individuals as indicated by Neurosynth (neurosynth.org), a meta-analytic tool of brain activation across studies. Next, we masked our reading covariate map by regions associated with individual differences in EF as determined by our covariate EF analysis. Finally, we isolated regions that are associated with individual variation both in reading as well as in EF through a whole-brain corrected conjunction analysis of the two covariate maps. These analyses suggested that EF regions predicting reading ability are mainly observed in the parietal cortex and suggest that EF contributes to individual differences in reading ability.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Other