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Dev Neuropsychol. 2009;34(3):312-29. doi: 10.1080/87565640902801890.

Cortical source localization of infant cognition.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996, USA.


Neuroimaging techniques such as positron emission topography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have been utilized with older children and adults to identify cortical sources of perceptual and cognitive processes. However, due to practical and ethical concerns, these techniques cannot be routinely applied to infant participants. An alternative to such neuroimaging techniques appropriate for use with infant participants is high-density electroencephalogram (EEG) recording and cortical source localization techniques. The current article provides an overview of a method developed for such analyses. The method consists of four steps: (1) recording high-density (e.g., 128-channel) EEG. (2) Analysis of individual participant raw segmented data with independent component analysis (ICA). (3) Estimation of equivalent current dipoles (ECDs) that represent cortical sources for the observed ICA component clusters. (4) Calculation of component activations in relation to experimental factors. We discuss an example of research applying this technique to investigate the development of visual attention and recognition memory. We also describe the application of "realistic head modeling" to address some of the current limitations of infant cortical source localization.

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