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Infant speech perception activates Broca's area: a developmental magnetoencephalography study

Imada, Toshiakia; Zhang, Yangb; Cheour, Mariec d; Taulu, Samue; Ahonen, Anttie; Kuhl, Patricia K.a

doi: 10.1097/01.wnr.0000223387.51704.89

Discriminative responses to tones, harmonics, and syllables in the left hemisphere were measured with magnetoencephalography in neonates, 6-month-old infants, and 12-month-old infants using the oddball paradigm. Real-time head position tracking, signal space separation, and head position standardization were applied to secure quality data for source localization. Minimum current estimates were calculated to characterize infants' cortical activities for detecting sound changes. The activation patterns observed in the superior temporal and inferior frontal regions provide initial evidence for the developmental emergence early in life of a perceptual–motor link for speech perception that may depend on experience.

aInstitute for Learning and Brain Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

bDepartment of Speech–Language–Hearing Sciences, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

cDepartment of Psychology & Department of Pediatrics, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, USA

dBioMag Laboratory, Helsinki University Central Hospital and

eElekta Neuromag Oy, Helsinki, Finland

Correspondence and requests for reprints to Patricia K. Kuhl, Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA


Sponsorship: Funding was provided by an NIH grant to PKK (HD 37954), an NSF Science of Learning Center grant to the University of Washington, LIFE Center, the Talaris Research Institute, and the Apex Foundation, the family foundation of Bruce and Jolene McCaw.

Received 3 April 2006; accepted 18 April 2006

Disclaimer: The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.