Resting frontal gamma power at 16, 24 and 36 months predicts individual differences in language and cognition at 4 and 5 years

Behav Brain Res. 2011 Jul 7;220(2):263-70. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2011.01.048. Epub 2011 Feb 3.


Gamma activity has been linked to a variety of different cognitive processes and exists in both transient and persistent forms. Across studies, different brain regions have been suggested to contribute to gamma activity. Multiple studies have shown that the function of gamma oscillations may be related to temporal binding of early sensory information to relevant top-down processes. Given this hypothesis, we expected gamma oscillations to subserve general brain mechanisms that contribute to the development of cognitive and linguistic systems. The present study aims to examine the predictive relations between resting-state cortical gamma power density at a critical point in language and cognitive acquisition (i.e. 16, 24 and 36 months), and cognitive and language output at ages 4 and 5 years. Our findings show that both 24- and 36-month gamma power are significantly correlated with later language scores, notably Non-Word Repetition. Further, 16-, 24- and 36-month gamma were all significantly correlated with 4-year PLS-3 and CELF-P sentence structure scores. Although associations reported here do not reflect a direct cause and effect of early resting gamma power on later language outcomes, capacity to generate higher power in the gamma range at crucial developmental periods may index better modulation of attention and allow easier access to working memory, thus providing an advantage for overall development, particularly in the linguistic domain. Moreover, measuring abilities at times when these abilities are still emergent may allow better prediction of later outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Age Factors
  • Brain Mapping
  • Brain Waves / physiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Individuality*
  • Infant
  • Language Development*
  • Language*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Phonetics
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Rest / physiology*
  • Statistics as Topic