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Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2016 Jun;19:98-106. doi: 10.1016/j.dcn.2016.02.008. Epub 2016 Feb 27.

Spatiotemporally dissociable neural signatures for generating and updating expectation over time in children: A High Density-ERP study.

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Department of General Psychology, University of Padova, Via Venezia, 8, 35131, Padova (PD), Italy. Electronic address:
Department of Neurosciences, University of Padova, Via Giustiniani, 5, 35128, Padova (PD), Italy; Centro di Neuroscienze Cognitive, University of Padova, Italy.


Temporal orienting (TO) is the allocation of attentional resources in time based on the a priori generation of temporal expectancy of relevant stimuli as well as the a posteriori updating of this expectancy as a function of both sensory-based evidence and elapsing time. These processes rely on dissociable cognitive mechanisms and neural networks. Yet, although there is evidence that TO may be a core mechanism for cognitive functioning in childhood, the developmental spatiotemporal neural dynamics of this mechanism are little understood. In this study we employed a combined approach based on the application of distributed source reconstruction on a high spatial resolution ERP data array obtained from eighteen 8- to 12-year-old children completing a TO paradigm in which both the cue (Temporal vs. Neutral) and the SOA (Short vs. Long) were manipulated. Results show both cue (N1) and SOA (CNV, Omission Detection Potential and Anterior Anticipatory Index) ERP effects, which were associated with expectancy generation and updating, respectively. Only cue-related effects were correlated with age, as revealed by a reduction of the N1 delta effect with increasing age. Our data suggest that the neural correlates underlying TO are already established at least from 8 to 12 years of age.


Anticipatory Anterior Index; Brain source reconstruction; CNV; Children; N1; Temporal Orienting

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