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Stuss D.T.,Rotman Research Institute
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society | Year: 2011

Proceeding from the assumptions that specific frontal regions control discrete functions and that very basic cognitive processes can be systematically manipulated to reveal those functions, recent reports have demonstrated consistent anatomical/functional relationships: dorsomedial for energization, left dorsolateral for task setting, and right dorsolateral for monitoring. There is no central executive. There are, instead, numerous domain general processes discretely distributed across several frontal regions that act in concert to accomplish control. Beyond these functions, there are two additional "frontal" anatomical/functional relationships: ventral-medial/orbital for emotional and behavioral regulation, and frontopolar for integrative-even meta-cognitive-functions. © 2011 The International Neuropsychological Society.


Paus T.,Rotman Research Institute
Hormones and Behavior | Year: 2013

This article is part of a Special Issue "Puberty and Adolescence".This review provides a conceptual framework for the study of factors - in our genes and environment - that shape the adolescent brain. I start by pointing out that brain phenotypes obtained with magnetic resonance imaging are complex traits reflecting the interplay of genes and the environment. In some cases, variations in the structural phenotypes observed during adolescence have their origin in the pre-natal or early post-natal periods. I then emphasize the bidirectional nature of brain-behavior relationships observed during this period of human development, where function may be more likely to influence structure rather than vice versa. In the main part of this article, I review our ongoing work on the influence of gonadal hormones on the adolescent brain. I also discuss the importance of social context and brain plasticity on shaping the relevant neural circuits. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Hopf L.,Rotman Research Institute
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society : JINS | Year: 2013

The neural organization of cognitive processes, particularly hemispheric lateralization, changes throughout childhood and adolescence. Differences in the neural basis of relational memory between children and adults are not well characterized. In this study we used magnetoencephalography to observe the lateralization differences of hippocampal activation in children and adults during performance of a relational memory task, transverse patterning (TP). The TP task was paired with an elemental control task, which does not depend upon the hippocampus. We contrasted two hypotheses; the compensation hypothesis would suggest that more bilateral activation in children would lead to better TP performance, whereas the maturation hypothesis would predict that a more adult-like right-lateralized pattern of hippocampal activation would lead to better performance. Mean-centered partial least squares analysis was used to determine unique patterns of brain activation specific to each task per group, while diminishing activation that is consistent across tasks. Our findings support the maturation hypothesis that a more adult-like pattern of increased right hippocampal lateralization in children leads to superior performance on the TP task. We also found dynamic changes of lateralization throughout the time course for all three groups, suggesting that caution is needed when interpreting conclusions about brain lateralization.


Vandermorris S.,Rotman Research Institute
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society : JINS | Year: 2013

The relationship of higher order problem solving to basic neuropsychological processes likely depends on the type of problems to be solved. Well-defined problems (e.g., completing a series of errands) may rely primarily on executive functions. Conversely, ill-defined problems (e.g., navigating socially awkward situations) may, in addition, rely on medial temporal lobe (MTL) mediated episodic memory processes. Healthy young (N = 18; M = 19; SD = 1.3) and old (N = 18; M = 73; SD = 5.0) adults completed a battery of neuropsychological tests of executive and episodic memory function, and experimental tests of problem solving. Correlation analyses and age group comparisons demonstrated differential contributions of executive and autobiographical episodic memory function to well-defined and ill-defined problem solving and evidence for an episodic simulation mechanism underlying ill-defined problem solving efficacy. Findings are consistent with the emerging idea that MTL-mediated episodic simulation processes support the effective solution of ill-defined problems, over and above the contribution of frontally mediated executive functions. Implications for the development of intervention strategies that target preservation of functional independence in older adults are discussed.


Rose N.S.,Rotman Research Institute
Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology | Year: 2013

Individual differences in working memory (WM) are related to performance on secondary memory (SM), and fluid intelligence (gF) tests. However, the source of the relation remains unclear, in part because few studies have controlled for the nature of encoding; therefore, it is unclear whether individual variation is due to encoding, maintenance, or retrieval processes. In the current study, participants performed a WM task (the levels-of-processing span task; Rose, Myerson, Roediger III, & Hale, 2010) and a SM test that tested for both targets and the distracting processing words from the initial WM task. Deeper levels of processing at encoding did not benefit WM, but did benefit subsequent SM, although the amount of benefit was smaller for those with lower WM spans. This result suggests that, despite encoding cues that facilitate retrieval from SM, low spans may have engaged in shallower, maintenance-focused processing to maintain the words in WM. Low spans also recalled fewer targets, more distractors, and more extralist intrusions than high spans, although this was partially due to low spans' poorer recall of targets, which resulted in a greater number of opportunities to commit recall errors. Delayed recall of intrusions and commission of source errors (labeling targets as processing words and vice versa) were significant negative predictors of gF. These results suggest that the ability to use source information to recall relevant information and withhold recall of irrelevant information is a critical source of both individual variation in WM and the relation between WM, SM, and gF. © 2013 Canadian Psychological Association.

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