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Poster A129

Does connectivity between frontotemporal areas at age 7 predict specialization for phonological and semantic processing at age 9.

Poster Session A - Saturday, April 13, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Avantika MATHUR1 (, Jin Wang2, James R. Booth1; 1Brain Development Laboratory, Department of Psychology and Human Development, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203, 2GAAB lab, 50 Church Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

The Interactive Specialization Model (ISM) proposes that cognitive development hinges on selective strengthening of inter-regional connections, giving rise to specialized functional systems. This pre-registered study examines whether early connectivity between frontotemporal areas in spoken language processing predicts later specialization. We explore whether connectivity (a) between opercularis Inferior Frontal Gyrus (opIFG) and posterior Superior Temporal Gyrus (pSTG) at age 7 predicts phonological specialization at age 9, and (b) between triangularis Inferior Frontal Gyrus (trIFG) and posterior Middle Temporal Gyrus (pMTG) at age 7 predicts semantic specialization at age 9. Longitudinal data from 32 participants at age 7 and age 9 are analyzed based on pre-registration criteria, utilizing fMRI data from auditory rhyming and semantic judgment tasks. Phonological and semantic specialization are indexed using average beta estimates from top 100 voxels within anatomical masks, and task-modulated connectivity coefficients are determined through generalized psychophysiological interactions (gPPI). Hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to predict specialization at age 9 from connectivity at age 7, controlling for task accuracy and specialization at age 7. Results show that overall fronto-temporal connectivity is not a significant predictor. However, phonological specialization in pSTG at age 7 predicts specialization at age 9 (β = 0.46, p<0.05), while semantic specialization in pMTG at age 7 predicts specialization in trIFG (β = 0.33, p<0.05) and pMTG at age 9 (β = 0.61, p<0.01). Conclusively, early temporal specialization significantly predicts later fronto-temporal specialization, prompting follow-up analysis exploring whether connectivity of temporal areas within a broad language mask at age 7 predicts later specialization.

Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Development & aging


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April 13–16  |  2024