Parental education is associated with differential engagement of neural pathways during inhibitory control

Christopher N. Cascio, Nina Lauharatanahirun, Gwendolyn M. Lawson, Martha J. Farah, Emily B. Falk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Response inhibition and socioeconomic status (SES) are critical predictors of many important outcomes, including educational attainment and health. The current study extends our understanding of SES and cognition by examining brain activity associated with response inhibition, during the key developmental period of adolescence. Adolescent males (N = 81), aged 16–17, completed a response inhibition task while undergoing fMRI brain imaging and reported on their parents’ education, one component of socioeconomic status. A region of interest analysis showed that parental education was associated with brain activation differences in the classic response inhibition network (right inferior frontal gyrus + subthalamic nucleus + globus pallidus) despite the absence of consistent parental education-performance effects. Further, although activity in our main regions of interest was not associated with performance differences, several regions that were associated with better inhibitory performance (ventromedial prefrontal cortex, middle frontal gyrus, middle temporal gyrus, amygdala/hippocampus) also differed in their levels of activation according to parental education. Taken together, these results suggest that individuals from households with higher versus lower parental education engage key brain regions involved in response inhibition to differing degrees, though these differences may not translate into performance differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number260
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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