Children Use Regions in the Visual Processing and Executive Function Networks during a Subsequent Memory Reading Task

Rola Farah, Rebecca S. Coalson, Steven E. Petersen, Bradley L. Schlaggar, Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Memory encoding is a critical process for memory function, which is foundational for cognitive functioning including reading, and has been extensively studied using subsequent memory tasks. Research in adults using such tasks indicates the participation of visual and cognitive-control systems in remembered versus forgotten words. However, given the known developmental trajectories of these systems, the functional neuroanatomy of memory encoding in children may be different than in adults. We examined brain activation for silent word reading and checkerboard viewing during an event-related reading task in 8-12 year-old children. Results indicate greater activation for checkerboard viewing than lexical processing in early visual regions, as well as for lexical processing versus checkerboard viewing in regions in left sensorimotor mouth, cingulo-opercular and dorsal-attention networks. Greater activation for remembered than forgotten words was observed in bilateral visual system and left lateralized regions within the ventral-and dorsal-attention, cingulo-opercular and fronto-parietal networks. These findings suggest a relatively mature reliance on the cognitive-control system, but greater reliance on the visual system in children when viewing words subsequently remembered. The location of regions with greater activity for remembered words reinforces the involvement of the attention and cognitive-control systems in subsequent memory in reading.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5180-5189
Number of pages10
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number12
StatePublished - 17 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: [email protected].


This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (R01 HD086011) to T.H-K. The authors thank J. Denise Wetzel for review and editing of the manuscript. Research reported in this publication was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute Of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54 HD087011 to the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center at Washington University. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. Conflict of Interest: None declared.

FundersFunder number
Washington University
National Institutes of HealthR01 HD086011
National Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentU54HD087011
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development


    • children
    • cognitive control
    • functional MRI
    • memory
    • visual processing


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