Graduation Date

Spring 5-4-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area

First Advisor

Tony W. Wilson

Second Advisor

Pamela E. May-Weeks

Third Advisor

Daniel Gih

Fourth Advisor

Alfred Fisher

MeSH Headings

Cognitive Neuroscience


Cognitive control is critical for flexibly adapting goal-directed behaviors to meet the demands of dynamically changing environments. The neural oscillatory dynamics serving cognitive control undergo changes across the lifespan, both in health and disease, with impairments in cognitive control functions being broadly implicated across a multitude of psychiatric disorders. Despite this, the trajectory of the population-level neural oscillatory dynamics supporting cognitive control across the lifespan remain poorly characterized, presenting challenges in fully understanding perturbations to these systems relative to one’s stage in neuronal maturation. Herein, we used the Eriksen flanker task during magnetoencephalographic (MEG) recording to map the neural oscillatory dynamics serving cognitive control: across the lifespan (Chapter 1; n=230; Age range: 9-85 years); with regular cannabis use in adulthood (Chapter 2; n=67 [34 adults who regularly use cannabis, 33 demographically matched nonusers]; Age range: 22-61 years); and with psychosocial distress among typically developing youth (Chapter 3; n=39; Age range: 10-16 years). In Chapter 1, we identified multispectral neural interference effects, including theta responses in frontoparietal regions and alpha responses in cingulofrontal cortices. Further, the oscillatory alpha responses exhibited significant quadratic relationships with age across the lifespan, while the oscillatory theta responses were not associated with age, although age effects were seen in spontaneous theta during the pre-stimulus baseline period. In Chapter 2, we mapped gamma interference effects to the frontoparietal cortices, and further, found that regular cannabis use was associated with a dose-related suppression in spontaneous gamma activity in these regions. Finally, in Chapter 3, we identified theta interference effects serving cognitive control in the cingulofrontal cortices in youth, and greater levels of psychosocial distress were marked by alterations in spontaneous and oscillatory theta activity in these regions. Overall, the findings of these studies point to spectrally-specific neural dynamics uniquely serving aspects of cognitive control that follow distinct trajectories of developmental fine-tuning and aging-related alterations, and further, suggest that frequent cannabis use in adulthood and psychosocial distress in peri-adolescence are associated with altered neural responses serving cognitive control, thus providing novel insight into the key mechanisms underlying these complex neural dynamics, both in health and in preclinical disease states.


2024 Copyright, the authors

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