Stronger fronto-parietal connectivity accounts for development of working memory-related brain activity
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Cognitive functions, including working memory capacity, improve during childhood and early adulthood. Several maturational processes take place during that time, most importantly the myelination of axons, pruning of synapses and strengthening of the remaining synapses. However, it has not yet been shown how to directly relate these cellular changes to working memory development and associated changes in brain activity. Here, we bridge this gap by integrating biophysically-based computational modelling and functional MRI of the visuospatial working memory. Cellular mechanisms corresponding to different maturational processes were implemented in in silico 'child' networks, and the predicted difference in activity between 'child' and a reference 'adult' network was then compared to measured brain activity in children and adults. Network models with stronger connectivity between brain areas, but not networks with faster conduction or increased neuronal specificity, were supported by measured developmental increases in brain activity and correlations between frontal and parietal areas. The 'adult' networks with stronger fronto-parietal connections also exhibited greater stability during distraction, which was consistent with the developmental improvement in working memory performance.
Engineering and Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102032OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-102032DiVA: diva2:667697