Learning and plasticity in adolescence

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Fuhrmann, Delia Ute Dorothea (2017)
  • Publisher: UCL (University College London)

Adolescence is the period of life between puberty and relative independence. It is a time during which the human brain undergoes protracted changes - particularly in the frontal, parietal and temporal cortices. These changes have been linked to improvements in cognitive performance; and are thought to render adolescence a period of relatively high levels of plasticity, during which the environment has a heightened impact on brain development and behaviour. This thesis investigates learning and plasticity in adolescence in four experimental studies. Study 1 examined age differences in face cognition, a key component of social cognition, by testing face perception and face memory performance in 661 participants aged 11 - 33. Study 2 tested whether the effects of social exclusion are age-dependent by measuring cognitive performance after social exclusion in 99 participants between ages 10 - 38. For Study 3, 663 participants aged 11 - 33 were asked to complete 20 days of cognitive training to probe whether the effects of cognitive training are also age-dependent. Study 4 investigated the neural correlates of academic diligence in 40 girls aged 14 - 15, using functional and structural neuroimaging. The research in this thesis demonstrates protracted development of cognitive functions in adolescence, consistent with previous studies. It highlights adolescence as a window of opportunity for learning but also as a vulnerable phase during which the brain is particularly susceptible to harmful effects of social exclusion. Finally, it highlights that individual variability in self-control and underlying frontal systems may be related to academic diligence, and thus educational outcomes.
  • References (2)

    2. Chapter 2: Design Issues in Developmental Studies.........................................55 2.1. Types of Developmental Designs .............................................................. 55 6. Chapter 6: The Neurocognitive Correlates of Academic Diligence................. 154 6.1. Introduction.............................................................................................. 154 Behavioural task................................................................................... 159 Behaviour in the Academic Diligence Task ......................................... 167 Behaviour in the go-no-go task ........................................................... 167 7. Chapter 7: Discussion ................................................................................... 176 7.1. Summary of Findings................................................................................ 177 Reiss, A. L., Abrams, M. T., Singer, H. S., Ross, J. L., & Denckla, M. B. (1996). Brain development, gender and IQ in children. Brain, 119(5), 1763-1774.

    Richland, L. E., Morrison, R. G., & Holyoak, K. J. (2006). Children's development of Scherf, K. S., Behrmann, M., & Dahl, R. E. (2012). Facing changes and changing Swanson, H. L., Howard, C. B., & Saez, L. (2006). Do different components of

  • Metrics
    0
    views in OpenAIRE
    0
    views in local repository
    44
    downloads in local repository

    The information is available from the following content providers:

    From Number Of Views Number Of Downloads
    UCL Discovery - IRUS-UK 0 44
Share - Bookmark

  • Download from
    UCL Discovery via UCL Discovery (Doctoral thesis, 2017)
  • Funded by
    WT
  • Cite this publication