Neural correlates of mental rotation in preschoolers with high or low working memory capacity

an fNIRS study

Jinfeng Yang, Dandan Wu, Jiutong Luo, Sha Xie, Chunqi Chang*, Hui Li

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    This study explored the differentiated neural correlates of mental rotation (MR) in preschoolers with high and low working memory capacity using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Altogether 38 Chinese preschoolers (M = 5.0 years, SD = 0.69 years) completed the Working Memory Capacity (WMC) test, the Mental Rotation (MR), and its Control tasks (without MR). They were divided into High-WMC (N1 = 9) and Low-WMC (N2 = 18) groups based on the WMC scores. The behavioral and fNIRS results indicated that: (1) there were no significant differences in MR task performance between the High-WMC (Mmr = 23.44, SD = 0.88) and Low-WMC group (Mmr = 23.67, SD = 0.59); (2) the Low-WMC group activated BA6, BA8, BA 9, and BA 44, whereas the High-WMC group activated BA8, BA10 and BA 44 during mental rotation; (3) significant differences were found in the activation of BA44 and BA9 between the High-WMC and Low-WMC groups during mental rotation; and (4) the High-WMC and Low-WMC groups differed significantly in the activation of BA 9 and BA10 during the control tasks, indicating that both areas might be responsible for the group differences in working memory.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number568382
    Pages (from-to)1-13
    Number of pages13
    JournalFrontiers in Psychology
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • neural network
    • mental rotation
    • working memory
    • Chinese preschoolers
    • functional near-infrared spectroscopy

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