N-back Working Memory Task: Meta-analysis of Normative fMRI Studies With Children

Child Dev. 2018 Nov;89(6):2010-2022. doi: 10.1111/cdev.13080. Epub 2018 May 7.

Abstract

The n-back task is likely the most popular measure of working memory for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. Despite accumulating neuroimaging studies with the n-back task and children, its neural representation is still unclear. fMRI studies that used the n-back were compiled, and data from children up to 15 years (n = 260) were analyzed using activation likelihood estimation. Results show concordance in frontoparietal regions recognized for their role in working memory as well as regions not typically highlighted as part of the working memory network, such as the insula. Findings are discussed in terms of developmental methodology and potential contribution to developmental theories of cognition.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Psychological Tests