Jewelia Yao Humanities and Social Science
The Relationship Between Brain Anatomy and Working Memory in Childhood
The human brain is characterized by ridges, or gyri, and indentations, or sulci. Individual differences in sulci have been shown to be related to aspects of cognition, which is important for our everyday functioning. Despite these findings that a) sulci develop and b) individual differences in sulci are linked to cognition in adults, no study has yet examined the relationship between the development of sulci and the development of an essential cognitive ability known as working memory. Working memory is the ability to maintain and manipulate information. It develops over childhood and has important implications for language comprehension, arithmetic skills, and educational achievement. Maintenance of working memory demonstrates activation in a brain region known as the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, whereas the manipulation aspect of working memory exhibits activation in a region known as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. In my research, I propose to look at sulcal depth in these areas and its relationship with working memory in order to understand how cognition develops in parallel with brain anatomy during childhood.