Development of a Computerized Orbito-Prefrontal Task

Development of a Computerized Orbito-Prefrontal Task – Certain tasks are known to “tap into” certain parts of the brain. This study examines the performance of children of different ages, and adults, on tasks known to rely on the orbito-prefrontal cortex (a part of the brain thought to play a role in emotion regulation and memory).

Certain tasks developed for animals have been shown to rely on a part of the brain called the orbitoprefrontal cortex. This study has adapted these tasks by computerizing them for use with children and adults.

One interesting finding in previous studies has been that there are distinct gender differences in the performance of these tasks during infancy and the first several years of life. These gender differences disappear, however, by the age of three or so, but re-appear during early adulthood. This would suggest that there are developmental differences in the orbitoprefrontal cortex between boys and girls. This study seeks to determine when, precisely, these differences disappear and reappear. Once this is known, researchers can identify possible developmental causes of the gender differences in performance.