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Cortex. 2016 Oct;83:231-45. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2016.08.004. Epub 2016 Aug 13.

Reconfiguration of parietal circuits with cognitive tutoring in elementary school children.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA, United States; Department of Education and Child Studies, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands. Electronic address: d.d.jolles@fsw.leidenuniv.nl.
2
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA, United States.
3
Department of Special Education, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, United States.
4
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA, United States; Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA, United States; Program in Neuroscience, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA, United States; Symbolic Systems Program, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA, United States. Electronic address: menon@stanford.edu.

Abstract

Cognitive development is shaped by brain plasticity during childhood, yet little is known about changes in large-scale functional circuits associated with learning in academically relevant cognitive domains such as mathematics. Here, we investigate plasticity of intrinsic brain circuits associated with one-on-one math tutoring and its relation to individual differences in children's learning. We focused on functional circuits associated with the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) and angular gyrus (AG), cytoarchitectonically distinct subdivisions of the human parietal cortex with different roles in numerical cognition. Tutoring improved performance and strengthened IPS connectivity with the lateral prefrontal cortex, ventral temporal-occipital cortex, and hippocampus. Crucially, increased IPS connectivity was associated with individual performance gains, highlighting the behavioral significance of plasticity in IPS circuits. Tutoring-related changes in IPS connectivity were distinct from those of the adjacent AG, which did not predict performance gains. Our findings provide new insights into plasticity of functional brain circuits associated with the development of specialized cognitive skills in children.

KEYWORDS:

Arithmetic; Functional connectivity; Learning; Plasticity; Training

PMID:
27618765
PMCID:
PMC5160046
DOI:
10.1016/j.cortex.2016.08.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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