Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Growing Up and Growing Down - fMRI Changes with Age

Isn't this interesting, school-aged children had very different patterns from adults while listening and watching, and generating words. Interestingly, correlating brain activations with age showed that some areas of brain appear to grow up (more activated), whereas other areas seemed to grow down (less activated) as we get older. Maybe some of that is good, and some of that bad? Either way, parents and teachers probably experience learning very different from children. For those right brain-left brain fans, looks like a little more right brain action in kids.

Remember, fMRI only shows you differences in anatomical activation, not causes or mechanisms, but its helpful to remember reciprocal changes - some of the changes with age are likely for the better (cognitive control), but are does our visual experience dim with age?

The truth is, the whole thing is rather complex. Say the authors: "It would appear, then, that there is no simple mapping of maturational effects onto broad brain regions, such as the mere 'coming online' of left frontal cortex. Instead, task-specific developmental changes appear to occur in a complex functional mosaic."

Hmmm. Guess that means beware simplistic 'hypofrontal' views of children or teens, or "ADD" for that matter. We also probably need to think more about children perceive and organize information.

Word Generation in Children and Adults

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