Psychology, Department of
Reward-Sensitive Basal Ganglia Stabilize the Maintenance of Goal-Relevant Neural Patterns in Adolescents
Date of this Version
Published in final edited form as: J Cogn Neurosci. 2020 August ; 32(8): 1508–1524. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01572.
Maturation of basal ganglia (BG) and frontoparietal circuitry parallels developmental gains in working memory (WM). Neurobiological models posit that adult WM performance is enhanced by communication between reward-sensitive BG and frontoparietal regions, via increased stability in the maintenance of goal-relevant neural patterns. It is not known whether this reward-driven pattern stability mechanism may have a role in WM development. In 34 young adolescents (12.16–14.72 years old) undergoing fMRI, reward-sensitive BG regions were localized using an incentive processing task. WM-sensitive regions were localized using a delayed-response WM task. Functional connectivity analyses were used to examine the stability of goal-relevant functional connectivity patterns during WM delay periods between and within reward-sensitive BG and WM-sensitive frontoparietal regions. Analyses revealed that more stable goal-relevant connectivity patterns between reward-sensitive BG and WM-sensitive frontoparietal regions were associated with both greater adolescent age and WM ability. Computational lesion models also revealed that functional connections to WM-sensitive frontoparietal regions from reward-sensitive BG uniquely increased the stability of goal-relevant functional connectivity patterns within frontoparietal regions. Findings suggested (1) the extent to which goal-relevant communication patterns within reward-frontoparietal circuitry are maintained increases with adolescent development and WM ability and (2) communication from reward-sensitive BG to frontoparietal regions enhances the maintenance of goal-relevant neural patterns in adolescents’ WM. The maturation of reward-driven stability of goal-relevant neural patterns may provide a putative mechanism for understanding the developmental enhancement of WM.
Author manuscript J Cogn Neurosci. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2021 October 08.