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BACKGROUND: There is considerable uncertainty about the time-course of central auditory maturation. On some indices, children appear to have adult-like competence by school age, whereas for other measures development follows a protracted course. METHODOLOGY: We studied auditory development using auditory event-related potentials (ERPs) elicited by tones in 105 children on two occasions two years apart. Just over half of the children were 7 years initially and 9 years at follow-up, whereas the remainder were 9 years initially and 11 years at follow-up. We used conventional analysis of peaks in the auditory ERP, independent component analysis, and time-frequency analysis. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We demonstrated maturational changes in the auditory ERP between 7 and 11 years, both using conventional peak measurements, and time-frequency analysis. The developmental trajectory was different for temporal vs. fronto-central electrode sites. Temporal electrode sites showed strong lateralisation of responses and no increase of low-frequency phase-resetting with age, whereas responses recorded from fronto-central electrode sites were not lateralised and showed progressive change with age. Fronto-central vs. temporal electrode sites also mapped onto independent components with differently oriented dipole sources in auditory cortex. A global measure of waveform shape proved to be the most effective method for distinguishing age bands. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The results supported the idea that different cortical regions mature at different rates. The ICC measure is proposed as the best measure of 'auditory ERP age'.

Original publication

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0018993

Type

Journal article

Journal

PLoS One

Publication Date

09/05/2011

Volume

6

Keywords

Auditory Cortex, Child, Electroencephalography, Evoked Potentials, Female, Humans, Male