Cognitive flexibility-related prefrontal activation in preschoolers: A biological approach to temperamental effortful control

Laura E. Quiñones-Camacho*, Frank A. Fishburn, M. Catalina Camacho, Lauren S. Wakschlag, Susan B. Perlman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Individual differences in temperament have been theorized to be supported by differential recruitment of key neural regions, resulting in the distinct patterns of behavior observed throughout life. Although a compelling model, its rigorous and systematic testing is lacking, particularly within the heightened neuroplasticity of early childhood. The current study tested a model of the link between temperament, the brain, and behavior for cognitive flexibility in a sample of 4-5-year-old children (N = 123) using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to assess prefrontal cortex (PFC) activation. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to explore the link between survey reports of temperamental effortful control, and both performance-based and neuroimaging measures of cognitive flexibility. Results indicated that greater parent-reported temperamental effortful control was associated with better performance on a cognitive flexibility task, and less activation of the DLPFC in preschoolers. These findings support the theorized model of the interrelatedness between temperamental tendencies, behavior, and brain activation and suggest that better temperamentally regulated children use the DLPFC more efficiently for cognitive flexibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100651
JournalDevelopmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Volume38
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Keywords

  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Effortful control
  • Executive function
  • Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)
  • PFC
  • Preschool

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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