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Is Inhibitory Control a ‘No-Go’ in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Article: Is Inhibitory Control a ‘No-Go’ in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder? This paper was published in 2014 by Anji Vara and colleagues, included Krissy Doyle-Thomas in the journal Molecular Autism. This PDF article is available for download only.  Abstract: Background Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a range of neurodevelopmental conditions characterized by social communication deficits, repetitive behaviours, and restrictive interests. Impaired inhibition has been suggested to exacerbate the core symptoms of ASD. This is particularly critical during adolescence when social skills are maturing to adult levels. Using magnetoencephalography (MEG), we identified the location and timing pattern of neural activity associated with inhibition in adolescents with autism, compared to typically developing adolescents. Methods The MEG data from 15 adolescents with ASD and 15 age-matched controls (13 to 17 years) were collected during a go/no-go task with inverse ratios of go/no-go trials in two conditions: an inhibition condition (1:2) and a baseline condition (2:1). No-go trials from the two conditions were analyzed using beamformer source localizations from 200 ms to 400 ms post-stimulus onset. Significant activations were determined using permutation testing. Results Adolescents with ASD recruited first the right middle frontal gyrus (200 to 250 ms) followed by the left postcentral gyrus (250 to 300 ms) and finally the left middle frontal and right medial frontal gyri (300 to 400 ms). Typically developing adolescents recruited first the left middle frontal gyrus (200 to 250 ms), followed by the left superior and inferior frontal gyri (250 to 300 ms), then the right middle temporal gyrus (300 to 350 ms), and finally the superior and precentral gyri and right inferior [...]

Language Ability Predicts Cortical Structure and Covariance in Boys with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Article: Language Ability Predicts Cortical Structure and Covariance in Boys with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This paper was published in 2017 by Megha Sharda and colleagues, included Krissy Doyle-Thomas in the journal, Cerebral Cortex. Abstract: There is significant clinical heterogeneity in language and communication abilities of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). However, no consistent pathology regarding the relationship of these abilities to brain structure has emerged. Recent developments in anatomical correlation-based approaches to map structural covariance networks (SCNs), combined with detailed behavioral characterization, offer an alternative for studying these relationships. In this study, such an approach was used to study the integrity of SCNs of cortical thickness and surface area associated with language and communication, in 46 high-functioning, school-age children with ASD compared with 50 matched, typically developing controls (all males) with IQ > 75. Findings showed that there was alteration of cortical structure and disruption of fronto-temporal cortical covariance in ASD compared with controls. Furthermore, in an analysis of a subset of ASD participants, alterations in both cortical structure and covariance were modulated by structural language ability of the participants, but not communicative function. These findings indicate that structural language abilities are related to altered fronto-temporal cortical covariance in ASD, much more than symptom severity or cognitive ability. They also support the importance of better characterizing ASD samples while studying brain structure and for better understanding individual differences in language and communication abilities in ASD. This PDF Article is available for download only.    Sharda et al – Language Ability Predicts Cortical Structure and Covariance in Boys with [...]

Musical Expertise, Bilingualism, and Executive Functioning

Article: Musical Expertise, Bilingualism, and Executive Functioning. This paper was published in 2009 by Ellen Bialystok and Anne-Marie DePape in the peer-reviewed journal, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. The authors investigated whether intensive musical experience leads to enhancements in executive processing, as has been shown for bilingualism. Young adults who were bilinguals, musical performers (instrumentalists or vocalists), or neither completed 3 cognitive measures and 2 executive function tasks based on conflict. Both executive function tasks included control conditions that assessed performance in the absence of conflict. All participants performed equivalently for the cognitive measures and the control conditions of the executive function tasks, but performance diverged in the conflict conditions. In a version of the Simon task involving spatial conflict between a target cue and its position, bilinguals and musicians outperformed monolinguals, replicating earlier research with bilinguals. In a version of the Stroop task involving auditory and linguistic conflict between a word and its pitch, the musicians performed better than the other participants. Instrumentalists and vocalists did not differ on any measure. Results demonstrate that extended musical experience enhances executive control on a nonverbal spatial task, as previously shown for bilingualism, but also enhances control in a more specialized auditory task, although the effect of bilingualism did not extend to that domain. This PDF article is available for download only.   Bialystok and DePape – Musical Expertise, Bilingualism, and Executive Functioning, 2009 PDF