Inhibitory Control in Children 4–10 Years of Age: Evidence From Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Task-Based Observations [Book Review]

Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 15 (2022)
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Abstract

Executive function is essential to child development, with associated skills beginning to emerge in the first few years of life and continuing to develop into adolescence and adulthood. The prefrontal cortex, which follows a neurodevelopmental timeline similar to EF, plays an important role in the development of EF. However, limited research has examined prefrontal function in young children due to limitations of currently available neuroimaging techniques such as functional resonance magnetic imaging. The current study developed and applied a multimodal Go/NoGo task to examine the EF component of inhibitory control in children 4–10 years of age. Cortical activity was measured using a non-invasive and child-friendly neuroimaging technique – functional near-infrared spectroscopy. Children’s response accuracy and reaction times were captured during the fNIRS session and compared with responses obtained using the standardized assessments from NIH Toolbox cognition battery. Results showed significant correlations between the behavioral measures during the fNIRS session and the standardized EF assessments, in line with our expectations. Results from fNIRS measures demonstrated a significant, age-independent effect of inhibitory control in the right PFC, and an age-dependent effect in the left orbitofrontal cortex, consistent with results in previous studies using fNIRS and fMRI. Thus, the new task designed for fNIRS was suitable for examining IC in young children, and results showed that fNIRS measures can reveal prefrontal IC function.

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