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Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Recordings of Visuospatial Working Memory Processes. Part II: A Replication Study in Children on Sensitivity and Mental-Ability-Induced Differences in Functional Activation

Institute of Psychology, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
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Brain Sci. 2018, 8(8), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8080152
Received: 10 July 2018 / Revised: 7 August 2018 / Accepted: 9 August 2018 / Published: 12 August 2018
In a previous study in young adults, we showed that hemodynamic changes as measured by functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) were sensitive for identifying visuospatial working memory (WM)-related functional brain activation in the prefrontal cortex. This functional activation, however, could not be verified for participants with far-above-average mental ability, suggesting different cognitive processes adopted by this group. The present study was designed to confirm these findings in 11- to 13-year-old children by applying the same study design, experimental task, fNIRS setup, and statistical approach. We successfully replicated the earlier findings on sensitivity of fNIRS with regard to visuospatial WM-specific task demands in our children sample. Likewise, mental-ability-induced differences in functional activation were even more pronounced in the children compared with in the young adults. By testing a children sample, we were able to not only replicate our previous findings based on adult participants but also generalize the validity of these findings to children. This latter aspect seems to be of particular significance considering the relatively large number of fNIRS studies on WM performance in children. View Full-Text
Keywords: fNIRS; visuospatial working memory processing; children; sensitivity; subjective task demand; mental ability; replication; generalization fNIRS; visuospatial working memory processing; children; sensitivity; subjective task demand; mental ability; replication; generalization
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Witmer, J.S.; Aeschlimann, E.A.; Metz, A.J.; Troche, S.J.; Rammsayer, T.H. Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Recordings of Visuospatial Working Memory Processes. Part II: A Replication Study in Children on Sensitivity and Mental-Ability-Induced Differences in Functional Activation. Brain Sci. 2018, 8, 152.

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