ERIC Number: EJ1051804
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Age-Related Sex Differences in Language Lateralization: A Magnetoencephalography Study in Children
Yu, Vickie Y.; MacDonald, Matt J.; Oh, Anna; Hua, Gordon N.; De Nil, Luc F.; Pang, Elizabeth W.
Developmental Psychology, v50 n9 p2276-2284 Sep 2014
It is well supported by behavioral and neuroimaging studies that typical language function is lateralized to the left hemisphere in the adult brain and this laterality is less well defined in children. The behavioral literature suggests there maybe be sex differences in language development, but this has not been examined systematically with neuroimaging. In this study, magnetoencephalography was used to investigate the spatiotemporal patterns of language lateralization as a function of age and sex. Eighty typically developing children (46 female, 34 male; 4-18 years) participated in an overt visual verb generation task. An analysis method called differential beamforming was used to analyze language-related changes in oscillatory activity referred to as low-gamma event-related desynchrony (ERD). The proportion of ERD over language areas relative to total ERD was calculated. We found different patterns of laterality between boys and girls. Boys showed left-hemisphere lateralization in the frontal and temporal language-related areas across age groups, whereas girls showed a more bilateral pattern, particularly in frontal language-related areas. Differences in patterns of ERD were most striking between boys and girls in the younger age groups, and these patterns became more similar with increasing age, specifically in the preteen years. Our findings show sex differences in language lateralization during childhood; however, these differences do not seem to persist into adulthood. We present possible explanations for these differences. We also discuss the implications of these findings for presurgical language mapping in children and highlight the importance of examining the question of sex-related language differences across development.
Descriptors: Gender Differences, Age Differences, Diagnostic Tests, Children, Brain Hemisphere Functions, Verbal Communication, Neurological Organization, Oral Language, Adolescents, Verbs, Scores, Language Skills, Verbal Ability
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Edinburgh Handedness Inventory; Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test
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