Altered functional connectivity of the executive functions network during a stroop task in children with reading difficulties

Ophir Levinson, Alexander Hershey, Rola Farah, Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Children with reading difficulties (RDs) often receive related accommodations in schools, such as additional time for examinations and reading aloud written material. Existing data suggest that these readers share challenges in executive functions (EFs). Our study was designed to determine whether children with RDs have specific challenges in EFs and define neurobiological signatures for such difficulties using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data. Reading and EFs abilities were assessed in 8-12-year-old children with RDs and age-matched typical readers. Functional MRI data were acquired during a Stroop task, and functional connectivity of the EFs defined network was calculated in both groups and related to reading ability. Children with RDs showed lower reading and EFs abilities and demonstrated greater functional connectivity between the EFs network and visual, language, and cognitive control regions during the Stroop task, compared to typical readers. Our results suggest that children with RDs utilize neural circuits supporting EFs more so than do typical readers to perform a cognitive task. These results also provide a neurobiological explanation for the challenges in EFs shared by children with RDs and explain challenges this group shares outside of the reading domain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-525
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Connectivity
Volume8
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers 2018.

Keywords

  • children
  • executive functions
  • fMRI
  • language
  • visual processing

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