Connectivity in math-gifted adolescents: Comparing structural equation modeling with granger causality analysis
Mcmahon, Allison G.
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Cognitive tasks have been utilized during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) neuroimaging studies to investigate the involvement of brain regions. The advantage to using fMRI is that it is non-invasive and has excellent spatial resolution. Major challenges in brain research include understanding how the brain retrieves, processes, and transmits information along with understanding how information is stored. Therefore, connectivity analyses are vital in exploring information flow and temporal interactions between particular brain regions. FMRI data can be used to investigate how brain regions communicate with each other using effective connectivity and functional connectivity. Mathematically gifted adolescents and control subjects performed a mental rotation task during an fMRI paradigm during a previous study by O’Boyle et al. These data were collected and used for various analyses. It has been hypothesized that mathematically gifted children rely on the parietal region and right hemisphere, along with utilizing inter-hemispheric interactions that may be a more efficient network during mental rotation tasks. Connectivity paths determined from structural equation modeling (SEM) performed by a previous study by Prescott et al. are compared to the connectivity paths determined from Granger causality performed in this study. Although these methods can be used as confirmatory and/or exploratory tools, they may provide complementary, rather than redundant, information about connectivity networks within the brain.