New Publication: Effects of age, task performance and structural brain development on face processing
1 May 2012
The paper "Effects of age, task performance and structural brain development on face processing" by Kathrin Cohen Kadosh, Mark H Johnson, Fred Dick, Roi Cohen Kadosh, and Sarah-Jayne Blakemore has been accepted for publication in the journal Cerebral Cortex.
In this paper we combined structural and functional MRI developmental study. We tested 48 participants ages 7-37 years on three simple face-processing tasks (identity, expression, gaze task), which were designed to yield very similar performance levels across the entire age range. The same participants then carried out three more difficult out-of-scanner tasks, which provided in-depth measures of changes in performance. For our analysis we adopted a novel, systematic approach that allowed us to differentiate age- from performance-related changes in the BOLD response in the three tasks, and compared these effects to concomitant changes in brain structure. The processing of all face aspects activated the core face-network across the age range, as well as additional and partially separable regions. Small taskspecific activations in posterior regions were found to increase with age, and were distinct from more widespread activations that varied as a function of individual taskperformance (but not of age). Our results demonstrate that activity during faceprocessing changes with age, and these effects are still observed when controlling for changes associated with differences in task performance. Moreover, we found that changes in white and gray matter volume were associated with changes in activation with age and performance in the out-of-scanner tasks.