Social cognition and abstract thought in adolescence: the role of structural and functional development in rostral prefrontal cortex
Dumontheil, Iroise and Blakemore, S.J. (2012) Social cognition and abstract thought in adolescence: the role of structural and functional development in rostral prefrontal cortex. In: UNSPECIFIED (ed.) Educational Neuroscience. BJEP Monograph Series II 8. London, UK: The British Psychological Society, pp. 99-113. ISBN 9781854337177 .
Background. The rostral prefrontal cortex (RPFC) has increased in size and undergone changes in terms of its cellular organisation during primate evolution. In parallel emerged the ability to detach oneself from the immediate environment and process abstract thoughts and solve problems, as well as the ability to understand other individuals' thoughts and intentions. The RPFC is thought to play an important role in supporting these abilities: lateral RPFC is involved in processing and focusing on abstract thoughts and medial RPFC is involved in social cognition. Adolescence is a time characterised by change - hormonally, physically, psychologically and socially. Yet until fairly recently this period of life was neglected by cognitive neuroscience. In the past decade, large scale structural MRI studies have demonstrated development during adolescence of white and grey matter brain structure, with more protracted changes in the RPFC than in most other regions. Several fMRI studies have found that activity in the lateral and medial parts of RPFC shows changes between adolescence and adulthood during tasks of abstract thought and social cognition, respectively. Performance on both types of task also continues to improve until late adolescence. These findings highlight how adolescence, and not only childhood, is thus a time of continued maturation of brain and behaviour, when education and the environment can have an impact on cognitive development.
|Item Type:||Book Section|
|School:||Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Psychological Sciences|
|Research Centre:||Educational Neuroscience, Centre for, Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)|
|Date Deposited:||01 May 2013 08:54|
|Last Modified:||09 Dec 2016 11:17|
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