News and Commentary Archive

Explore recent scientific discoveries and news as well as CLBB events, commentary, and press.

Mission

The speed of technology in neuroscience as it impacts ethical and just decisions in the legal system needs to be understood by lawyers, judges, public policy makers, and the general public. The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior is an academic and professional resource for the education, research, and understanding of neuroscience and the law. Read more

Working Memory Filtering Continues to Develop into Late Adolescence

By Matthew R. Peverill, Katie A. McLaughlin, Amy S. Finn, and Margaret A. Sheridan | Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience | February 16, 2016

Abstract:

While most measures of working memory (WM) performance have been shown to plateau by mid-adolescence and developmental changes in fronto-parietal regions supporting WM encoding and maintenance have been well characterized, little is known about developmental variation in WM filtering. We investigated the possibility that the neural underpinnings of filtering in WM reach maturity later in life than WM function without filtering. Using a cued WM filtering task (McNab & Klingberg, 2008), we investigated neural activity during WM filtering in a sample of 64 adults and adolescents. Regardless of age, increases in WM activity with load were concentrated in the expected fronto-parietal network. For adults, but not adolescents, recruitment of the basal ganglia during presentation of a filtering cue was associated with neural and behavioral indices of successful filtering, suggesting that WM filtering and related basal ganglia function may still be maturing throughout adolescence and into adulthood.

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Beyond Simple Models of Adolescence to an Integrated Circuit-Based Account: A Commentary

By BJ Casey, Adriana Galvan, and Leah Somerville | Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience | December 17, 2015

A hallmark of behavioral development is the increasing ability to suppress inappropriate, competing thoughts, desires, emotions and actions in favor of appropriate ones (i.e., self-control). One developmental phase that has received much attention in recent years is that of adolescence, due in part to the significant brain changes of this period (Lee et al., 2014) and also to the heightened risk for psychopathology and criminally relevant behaviors (Casey et al., 2015 and Cohen and Casey, 2014). Two interesting articles in this issue, by Shulman and colleagues and Nelson and colleagues, review the developmental science literature and describe potential models for understanding adolescent behavioral and brain development focusing largely on the importance of incentives and social influences, respectively, during adolescence.

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