Functional Neuroanatomical Differences Between Adults and School-Age Children in the Processing of Single Words

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Science  24 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5572, pp. 1476-1479
DOI: 10.1126/science.1069464

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A critical issue in developmental cognitive neuroscience is the extent to which the functional neuroanatomy underlying task performance differs in adults and children. Direct comparisons of brain activation in the left frontal and extrastriate cortex were made in adults and children (aged 7 to 10 years) performing single-word processing tasks with visual presentation; differences were found in circumscribed frontal and extrastriate regions. Conceivably, these differences could be attributable exclusively to performance discrepancies; alternatively, maturational differences in functional neuroanatomy could exist despite similar performance. Some of the brain regions examined showed differences attributable to age independent of performance, suggesting that maturation of the pattern of regional activations for these tasks is incomplete at age 10.

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