Face-sensitive brain responses measured from a four-year-old child with a custom-sized child MEG system

Wei He*, Jon Brock, Blake W. Johnson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Previous magnetoencephalography (MEG) studies have failed to find a facesensitive, brain response-M170 in children. If this is the case, this suggests that the developmental trajectory of the M170 is different from that of its electrical equivalent, the N170. We investigated the alternative possibility that the child M170 may not be detectable in conventional adult-sized MEG systems. New method: Brain responses to pictures of faces and well controlled stimuli were measured from the same four-year-old child with a custom child MEG system and an adult-sized MEG system. Results: The goodness of fit of the child's head was about the same over the occipital head surface in both systems, but was much worse over all other parts of the head surface in the adult MEG system compared to the child MEG system. The face-sensitive M170 was measured from the child in both MEG systems, but was larger in amplitude, clearer in morphology, and had a more accurate source localization when measured in the child MEG system. Comparison with existing method: The custom-sized child MEG system is superior for measuring the face-sensitive M170 brain response in children than the conventional adult MEG system. Conclusions: The present results show that the face-sensitive M170 brain response can be elicited in a four-year-old child. This provides new evidence for early maturation of face processing brain mechanisms in humans, and offers new opportunities for the study of neurodevelopmental disorders that show atypical face processing capabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-217
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2014


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