Hemispheric lateralization of verbal and spatial working memory during adolescence

Bonnie Nagel, Megan M. Herting, Emily C. Maxwell, Richard Bruno, Damien Fair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Adult functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) literature suggests that a left-right hemispheric dissociation may exist between verbal and spatial working memory (WM), respectively. However, investigation of this type has been obscured by incomparable verbal and spatial WM tasks and/or visual inspection at arbitrary thresholds as means to assess lateralization. Furthermore, it is unclear whether this hemispheric lateralization is present during adolescence, a time in which WM skills are improving, and whether there is a developmental association with laterality of brain functioning. This study used comparable verbal and spatial WM n-back tasks during fMRI and a bootstrap analysis approach to calculate lateralization indices (LIs) across several thresholds to examine the potential of a left-right WM hemispheric dissociation in healthy adolescents. We found significant left hemispheric lateralization for verbal WM, most notably in the frontal and parietal lobes, as well as right hemisphere lateralization for spatial WM, seen in frontal and temporal cortices. Although no significant relationships were observed between LI and age or LI and performance, significant age-related patterns of brain activity were demonstrated during both verbal and spatial WM. Specifically, increased adolescent age was associated with less activity in the default mode brain network during verbal WM. In contrast, increased adolescent age was associated with greater activity in task-positive posterior parietal cortex during spatial working memory. Our findings highlight the importance of utilizing non-biased statistical methods and comparable tasks for determining patterns of functional lateralization. Our findings also suggest that, while a left-right hemispheric dissociation of verbal and spatial WM is apparent by early adolescence, age-related changes in functional activation during WM are also present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-68
Number of pages11
JournalBrain and Cognition
Volume82
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013

Fingerprint

Short-Term Memory
Parietal Lobe
Frontal Lobe
Spatial Memory
Working Memory
Lateralization
Adolescence
Brain
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Temporal Lobe

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Brain
  • FMRI
  • Lateralization
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

Hemispheric lateralization of verbal and spatial working memory during adolescence. / Nagel, Bonnie; Herting, Megan M.; Maxwell, Emily C.; Bruno, Richard; Fair, Damien.

In: Brain and Cognition, Vol. 82, No. 1, 06.2013, p. 58-68.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Nagel, Bonnie ; Herting, Megan M. ; Maxwell, Emily C. ; Bruno, Richard ; Fair, Damien. / Hemispheric lateralization of verbal and spatial working memory during adolescence. In: Brain and Cognition. 2013 ; Vol. 82, No. 1. pp. 58-68.
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