Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
This study examines important developmental differences in patterns of activation in the prefrontal cortex during performance of a Go-No-Go paradigm using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Eighteen subjects (9 children and 9 adults) were scanned using gradient echo, echo planar imaging during performance of a response inhibition task. The results suggest four general findings. First, the location of activation in the prefrontal cortex was not different between children and adults, which is similar to our earlier pediatric fMRI results of prefrontal activation during a working memory task (Casey et al., 1995). Second, the volume of activation was significantly greater for children relative to adults. These differences in volume of activation were observed predominantly in the dorsal and lateral prefrontal cortices. Third, although inhibitory processes have typically been associated with more ventral or orbital frontal regions, the current study revealed activation that was distributed across both dorsolateral and orbitofrontal cortices. Finally, consistent with animal and human lesion studies, activity in orbital frontal and anterior cingulate cortices correlated with behavioral performance (i.e., number of false alarms). These results further demonstrate the utility of this methodology in studying pediatric populations.