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      Neurocognitive correlates of socioeconomic status in kindergarten children

      , ,

      Developmental Science

      Wiley

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          Abstract

          Socioeconomic status (SES) is strongly associated with cognitive ability and achievement during childhood and beyond. Little is known about the developmental relationships between SES and specific brain systems or their associated cognitive functions. In this study we assessed neurocognitive functioning of kindergarteners from different socioeconomic backgrounds, using tasks drawn from the cognitive neuroscience literature in order to determine how childhood SES predicts the normal variance in performance across different neurocognitive systems. Five neurocognitive systems were examined: the occipitotemporal/visual cognition system, the parietal/spatial cognition system, the medial temporal/memory system, the left perisylvian/language system, and the prefrontal/executive system. SES was disproportionately associated with the last two, with low SES children performing worse than middle SES children on most measures of these systems. Relations among language, executive function, SES and specific aspects of early childhood experience were explored, revealing intercorrelations and a seemingly predominant role of individual differences in language ability involved in SES associations with executive function.

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          Most cited references 59

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          The impact of economic hardship on black families and children: psychological distress, parenting, and socioemotional development.

           V McLoyd (1990)
          Family processes affecting the socioemotional functioning of children living in poor families and families experiencing economic decline are reviewed. Black children are of primary interest in the article because they experience disproportionate shares of the burden of poverty and economic loss and are at substantially higher risk than white children of experiencing attendant socioemotional problems. It is argued that (a) poverty and economic loss diminish the capacity for supportive, consistent, and involved parenting and render parents more vulnerable to the debilitating effects of negative life events, (b) a major mediator of the link between economic hardship and parenting behavior is psychological distress deriving from an excess of negative life events, undesirable chronic conditions, and the absence and disruption of marital bonds, (c) economic hardship adversely affects children's socioemotional functioning in part through its impact on the parent's behavior toward the child, and (d) father-child relations under conditions of economic hardship depend on the quality of relations between the mother and father. The extent to which psychological distress is a source of race differences in parenting behavior is considered. Finally, attention is given to the mechanisms by which parents' social networks reduce emotional strain, lessen the tendency toward punitive, coercive, and inconsistent parenting behavior, and, in turn, foster positive socioemotional development in economically deprived children.
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            Role of left inferior prefrontal cortex in retrieval of semantic knowledge: a reevaluation.

            A number of neuroimaging findings have been interpreted as evidence that the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) subserves retrieval of semantic knowledge. We provide a fundamentally different interpretation, that it is not retrieval of semantic knowledge per se that is associated with left IFG activity but rather selection of information among competing alternatives from semantic memory. Selection demands were varied across three semantic tasks in a single group of subjects. Functional magnetic resonance imaging signal in overlapping regions of left IFG was dependent on selection demands in all three tasks. In addition, the degree of semantic processing was varied independently of selection demands in one of the tasks. The absence of left IFG activity for this comparison counters the argument that the effects of selection can be attributed solely to variations in degree of semantic retrieval. Our findings suggest that it is selection, not retrieval, of semantic knowledge that drives activity in the left IFG.
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              Human neural systems for face recognition and social communication.

              Face perception is mediated by a distributed neural system in humans that consists of multiple, bilateral regions. The functional organization of this system embodies a distinction between the representation of invariant aspects of faces, which is the basis for recognizing individuals, and the representation of changeable aspects, such as eye gaze, expression, and lip movement, which underlies the perception of information that facilitates social communication. The system also has a hierarchical organization. A core system, consisting of occipitotemporal regions in extrastriate visual cortex, mediates the visual analysis of faces. An extended system consists of regions from neural systems for other cognitive functions that can act in concert with the core system to extract meaning from faces. Of regions in the extended system for face perception, the amygdala plays a central role in processing the social relevance of information gleaned from faces, particularly when that information may signal a potential threat.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Developmental Science
                Developmental Sci
                Wiley
                1363-755X
                1467-7687
                January 2005
                January 2005
                : 8
                : 1
                : 74-87
                Article
                10.1111/j.1467-7687.2005.00394.x
                15647068
                © 2005

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