Functional maturation of the executive system during adolescence

Theodore D. Satterthwaite, Daniel H. Wolf, Guray Erus, Kosha Ruparel, Mark A. Elliott, Efstathios D. Gennatas, Ryan Hopson, Chad Jackson, Karthik Prabhakaran, Warren B. Bilker, Monica E. Calkins, James Loughead, Alex Smith, David R. Roalf, Hakon Hakonarson, Ragini Verma, Christos Davatzikos, Ruben C. Gur, Raquel E. Gur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Adolescence is characterized by rapid development of executive function. Working memory (WM) is a key element of executive function, but it is not known what brain changes during adolescence allow improved WM performance. Using a fractal n-back fMRI paradigm, we investigated brain responses to WM load in 951 human youths aged 8-22 years. Compared with more limited associations with age, WM performance was robustly associated with both executive network activation and deactivation of the default mode network. Multivariate patterns of brain activation predicted task performance with a high degree of accuracy, and also mediated the observed age-related improvements inWMperformance. These results delineate a process of functional maturation of the executive system, and suggest that this process allows for the improvement of cognitive capability seen during adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16249-16261
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number41
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Functional maturation of the executive system during adolescence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this