Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and n-back tasks we investigated whether, in 11-13-year-old children, spatial (location) and nonspatial (color) information is differentially processed during visual attention (0-back) and working memory (WM) (2-back) tasks and whether such cognitive task performance, compared to a resting state, results in regional deactivation. The location 0-back task, compared to the color 0-back task, activated segregated areas in the frontal, parietal and occipital cortices whereas no differentially activated voxels were obtained when location and color 2-back tasks were directly contrasted. Several midline cortical areas were less active during 0- and 2-back task performance than testing state. The task-induced deactivation increased with task difficulty as demonstrated by larger deactivation during 2-back than 0-back tasks. The results Suggest that, in 11-13-year-old children, the visual attentional network is differently recruited by spatial and nonspatial information processing, but the functional organization of cortical activation in WM in this age group is not based on the type of information processed. Furthermore, 11-13-year-old children exhibited a similar pattern of cortical deactivation that has been reported in adults during cognitive task performance compared to a resting state. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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