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    Developmental changes in effective connectivity associated with relational reasoning

    Bazargani, N. and Hillebrandt, H. and Christoff, K. and Dumontheil, Iroise (2014) Developmental changes in effective connectivity associated with relational reasoning. Human Brain Mapping 35 (7), pp. 3262-3276. ISSN 1065-9471.

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    Rostrolateral prefrontal cortex (RLPFC) is part of a frontoparietal network of regions involved in relational reasoning, the mental process of working with relationships between multiple mental representations. RLPFC has shown functional and structural changes with age, with increasing specificity of left RLPFC activation for relational integration during development. Here, we used dynamic causal modeling (DCM) to investigate changes in effective connectivity during a relational reasoning task through the transition from adolescence into adulthood. We examined fMRI data of 37 healthy female participants (11–30 years old) performing a relational reasoning paradigm. Comparing relational integration to the manipulation of single relations revealed activation in five regions: the RLPFC, anterior insula, dorsolateral PFC, inferior parietal lobe, and medial superior frontal gyrus. We used a new exhaustive search approach and identified a full DCM model, which included all reciprocal connections between the five clusters in the left hemisphere, as the optimal model. In line with previous resting state fMRI results, we showed distinct developmental effects on the strength of long-range frontoparietal versus frontoinsular short-range fixed connections. The modulatory connections associated with relational integration increased with age. Gray matter volume in left RLPFC, which decreased with age, partly accounted for changes in fixed PFC connectivity. Finally, improvements in relational integration performance were associated with greater modulatory and weaker fixed PFC connectivity. This pattern provides further evidence of increasing specificity of left PFC function for relational integration compared to the manipulation of single relations, and demonstrates an association between effective connectivity and performance during development. Hum Brain Mapp, 2013.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is the accepted version of the following article: Developmental changes in effective connectivity associated with relational reasoning - Human Brain Mapping 35(7), pp. 3262-3276, July 2014, which has been published in final form at
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): rostral prefrontal cortex, adolescence, relational integration, DCM, reasoning, gray matter
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Educational Neuroscience, Centre for, Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2013 08:25
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:08


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