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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2007 Apr;17(2):243-50. Epub 2007 Feb 23.

Neurodevelopmental changes in working memory and cognitive control.

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  • 1Department of Psychology and Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA.


One of the most salient ways in which our behavior changes during childhood and adolescence is that we get better at working towards long-term goals, at ignoring irrelevant information that could distract us from our goals, and at controlling our impulses - in other words, we exhibit improvements in cognitive control. Several recent magnetic resonance imaging studies have examined the developmental changes in brain structure and function that underlie improvements in working memory and cognitive control. Increased recruitment of task-relevant regions in the prefrontal cortex, parietal cortex and striatum over the course of development is associated with better performance in a range of cognitive tasks. Further work is needed to assess the role of experience in shaping the neural circuitry that underlies cognitive control.

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