Lateralized theta wave connectivity and language performance in 2-to 5-year-old children

Mitsuru Kikuchi, Kiyomi Shitamichi, Yuko Yoshimura, Sanae Ueno, Gerard B. Remijn, Tetsu Hirosawa, Toshio Munesue, Tsunehisa Tsubokawa, Yasuhiro Haruta, Manabu Oi, Haruhiro Higashida, Yoshio Minabe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    56 Citations (Scopus)


    Recent neuroimaging studies support the view that a left-lateralized brain network is crucial for language development in children. However, no previous studies have demonstrated a clear link between lateralized brain functional network and language performance in preschool children. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a noninvasive brain imaging technique and is a practical neuroimaging method for use in young children. MEG produces a reference-free signal, and is therefore an ideal tool to compute coherence between two distant cortical rhythms. In the present study, using a custom child-sized MEG system, we investigated brain networks while 78 right-handed preschool human children (32-64 months; 96% were 3-4 years old) listened to stories with moving images. The results indicated that left dominance of parietotemporal coherence in theta band activity (6-8 Hz) was specifically correlated with higher performance of languagerelated tasks, whereas this laterality was not correlated with nonverbal cognitive performance, chronological age, or head circumference. Power analyses did not reveal any specific frequencies that contributed to higher language performance. Our results suggest that it is not the left dominance in theta oscillation per se, but the left-dominant phase-locked connectivity via theta oscillation that contributes to the development of language ability in young children.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)14984-14988
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Neuroscience
    Issue number42
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 19 2011

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • General Medicine


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