The relationship between language development in early childhood and the maturation of brain functions related to the human voice remains unclear. Because the development of the auditory system likely correlates with language development in young children, we investigated the relationship between the auditory evoked field (AEF) and language development using non-invasive child-customized magnetoencephalography (MEG) in a longitudinal design. Twenty typically developing children were recruited (aged 36-75. months old at the first measurement). These children were re-investigated 11-25. months after the first measurement. The AEF component P1m was examined to investigate the developmental changes in each participant's neural brain response to vocal stimuli. In addition, we examined the relationships between brain responses and language performance. P1m peak amplitude in response to vocal stimuli significantly increased in both hemispheres in the second measurement compared to the first measurement. However, no differences were observed in P1m latency. Notably, our results reveal that children with greater increases in P1m amplitude in the left hemisphere performed better on linguistic tests. Thus, our results indicate that P1m evoked by vocal stimuli is a neurophysiological marker for language development in young children. Additionally, MEG is a technique that can be used to investigate the maturation of the auditory cortex based on auditory evoked fields in young children. This study is the first to demonstrate a significant relationship between the development of the auditory processing system and the development of language abilities in young children.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cognitive Neuroscience