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Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2019 Apr;36:100641. doi: 10.1016/j.dcn.2019.100641. Epub 2019 Mar 23.

Associations between cortical thickness and reasoning differ by socioeconomic status in development.

Author information

1
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 43 Vassar St Room 46-4033, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA; Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Levin Building 425 S. University Ave, Room 354, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA. Electronic address: jlnrd@sas.upenn.edu.
2
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 43 Vassar St Room 46-4033, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA; Division of Medical Sciences, Harvard University, 260 Longwood Ave, T-MEC 435, Boston, MA, 02155, USA.
3
Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Levin Building 425 S. University Ave, Room 354, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.
4
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 43 Vassar St Room 46-4033, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA.
5
Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, 100 St. George St, Sidney Smith Hall, Toronto, ON, M5S 3G3, Canada.

Abstract

Although lower socioeconomic status (SES) is generally negatively associated with performance on cognitive assessments, some children from lower-SES backgrounds perform as well as their peers from higher-SES backgrounds. Yet little research has examined whether the neural correlates of individual differences in cognition vary by SES. The current study explored whether relationships between cortical structure and fluid reasoning differ by SES in development. Fluid reasoning, a non-verbal component of IQ, is supported by a distributed frontoparietal network, with evidence for a specific role of rostrolateral prefrontal cortex (RLPFC). In a sample of 115 4-7-year old children, bilateral thickness of RLPFC differentially related to reasoning by SES: thicker bilateral RLPFC positively correlated with reasoning ability in children from lower-SES backgrounds, but not in children from higher-SES backgrounds. Similar results were found in an independent sample of 59 12-16-year old adolescents. Furthermore, young children from lower-SES backgrounds with strong reasoning skills were the only group to show a positive relationship between RLPFC thickness and age. In sum, we found that relationships between cortical thickness and cognition differ by SES during development.

KEYWORDS:

Brain development; Child development; MRI; Reasoning; Socioeconomic status; early childhood

PMID:
30951970
DOI:
10.1016/j.dcn.2019.100641
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