Immature frontal lobe contributions to cognitive control in children: evidence from fMRI.
Event-related fMRI was employed to characterize differences in brain activation between children ages 8-12 and adults related to two forms of cognitive control: interference suppression and response inhibition. Children were more susceptible to interference and less able to inhibit inappropriate responses than were adults. Effective interference suppression in children was associated with prefrontal activation in the opposite hemisphere relative to adults. In contrast, effective response inhibition in children was associated with activation of posterior, but not prefrontal, regions activated by adults. Children failed to activate a region in right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex that was recruited for both types of cognitive control by adults. Thus, children exhibited immature prefrontal activation that varied according to the type of cognitive control required.