4 years ago

Sensory processes modulate differences in multi-component behavior and cognitive control between childhood and adulthood

Krutika Gohil, Veit Roessner, Annet Bluschke, Ann-Kathrin Stock, Christian Beste
Many everyday tasks require executive functions to achieve a certain goal. Quite often, this requires the integration of information derived from different sensory modalities. Children are less likely to integrate information from different modalities and, at the same time, also do not command fully developed executive functions, as compared to adults. Yet still, the role of developmental age-related effects on multisensory integration processes has not been examined within the context of multicomponent behavior until now (i.e., the concatenation of different executive subprocesses). This is problematic because differences in multisensory integration might actually explain a significant amount of the developmental effects that have traditionally been attributed to changes in executive functioning. In a system, neurophysiological approach combining electroencephaloram (EEG) recordings and source localization analyses, we therefore examined this question. The results show that differences in how children and adults accomplish multicomponent behavior do not solely depend on developmental differences in executive functioning. Instead, the observed developmental differences in response selection processes (reflected by the P3 ERP) were largely dependent on the complexity of integrating temporally separated stimuli from different modalities. This effect was related to activation differences in medial frontal and inferior parietal cortices. Primary perceptual gating or attentional selection processes (P1 and N1 ERPs) were not affected. The results show that differences in multisensory integration explain parts of transformations in cognitive processes between childhood and adulthood that have traditionally been attributed to changes in executive functioning, especially when these require the integration of multiple modalities during response selection. Hum Brain Mapp 38:4933–4945, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/hbm.23705

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