Evidence for the Development of the Extended Face Network, Executive Function, and Response Inhibition: An FMRI Study of the Emotional Go/No-Go Task
33.545, Sunday, May 12, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm, Vista Ballroom
Elizabeth Toomarian1, Jarnet Han1, Maha Adamo1,3, Frank Haist1,2,3; 1Center for Human Development, University of California, San Diego, 2Psychiatry Department, University of California, San Diego, 3Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind, University of California, San Diego
Faces are the foundation of the human visual social environment. Adult face expertise involves highly integrated functions between a core face network crucial for decoding perceptually invariant aspects of faces, and an extended face network that recruits specific cognitive systems depending on task demands. Recent evidence shows that the core continues to develop into adolescence; however, virtually nothing is known about the development of the extended face network. Here, we report FMRI findings from a cognitively demanding "Emotional Go/No-Go" task in which participants were presented faces showing disgusted, happy, and neutral expressions. Within a task run, either disgust or happy was defined as the "No-Go" stimulus (counterbalanced across runs), with the other emotion and neutral stimuli requiring a button-press response. A hybrid blocked/event-related design maximized prepotent responding while also allowing for the categorization of responses. Seventeen children (6-12 years; 9 females; mean 9.6 years), 14 adolescents (13-16 years, 5 females, mean 15.4 years), and 16 adults (18-34 years, 8 females, mean 22.4 years) were tested. Children and adolescents made more commission errors ("false alarms") than adults, and children made more errors than the adolescent group. Adults and adolescents performed similarly in responding correctly to "Go" stimuli, but children made fewer correct responses than adults. Nonetheless, children performed well above chance, indicating the ability to perform the task. Children showed significantly less activity in the amygdala during correct inhibition responses compared to adults and adolescents. During commission errors, children produced significantly less activation in bilateral anterior insula, bilateral inferior frontal gyrus, and right anterior cingulate. Overall, the findings have broad implications for the development of multiple brain systems supporting cognition. Specifically, we suggest that the networks for face emotion evaluation, executive function, and inhibitory processing in children have a protracted developmental trajectory that appears to extend into adolescence.