Age, sex, and verbal abilities affect location of linguistic connectivity in ventral visual pathway
Previous studies have shown that the strength of connectivity between regions can vary depending upon the cognitive demands of a task. In this study, the location of task-dependent connectivity from the primary visual cortex (V1) was examined in 43 children (ages 9-15) performing visual tasks; connectivity maxima were identified for a visual task requiring a linguistic (orthographic) judgment. Age, sex, and verbal IQ interacted to affect maxima location. Increases in age and verbal IQ produced similar shifts in maxima location; in girls, connectivity maxima shifted primarily laterally within the left temporal lobe, whereas the shift was primarily posterior within occipital cortex among boys. A composite map across all subjects shows an expansion in the area of connectivity with age. Results show that the location of visual/linguistic connectivity varies systematically during development, suggesting that both sex differences and developmental changes in V1 connectivity are related to linguistic function.