Electrophysiological studies of adults indicate that brain activity is enhanced during viewing of repeated faces, at a latency of about 250 ms after the onset of the face (M250/N250). The present study aimed to determine if this effect was also present in preschool-aged children, whose brain activity was measured in a custom-sized pediatric MEG system. The results showed that, unlike adults, face repetition did not show any significant modulation of M250 amplitude in children; however children's M250 latencies were significantly faster for repeated than non-repeated faces. Dynamic causal modelling (DCM) of the M250 in both age groups tested the effects of face repetition within the core face network including the occipital face area (OFA), the fusiform face area (FFA), and the superior temporal sulcus (STS). DCM revealed that repetition of identical faces altered both forward and backward connections in children and adults; however the modulations involved inputs to both FFA and OFA in adults but only to OFA in children. These findings suggest that the amplitude-insensitivity of the immature M250 may be due to a weaker connection between the FFA and lower visual areas.
Keywords: DCM; Face recognition; M170; M250; MEG; Repetition.
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