Preliminary MEG Study of Emotional Face Processing Among Children

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Human social interaction heavily depends on understanding faces, as they carry information about age, gender and emotions. Extensive research has been performed to understand face processing in adults and in children using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG). However, there are far fewer studies using magnetoencephalography (MEG) and only a small handful that study children. The data from this study was one of the first that aimed to find the neurological pathways of face processing of children in the MEG space and additionally aimed to examine the differences in emotional facial presentations. We used MEG datasets from 10 healthy children in the age range of 9 to 16 years old collected during the presentation of static faces with different expressions (neutral, anger and fear) and objects (butterfly, fish and guitar) as control states. The data was preprocessed and an event-related beamformer was utilized to localize the millisecond timescale of activity of the brain processes during the face stimuli and during the object stimuli. We observed activity consistent with the face sensitive M170 event-related  field component with a group average amplitude of 10nA peak and 171 ms post stimulus.  This component localized to the occipital-temporal-parietal region in the right hemisphere consistent with either the fusiform face area (FFA) or the posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS).  To our knowledge, this may be one of the few studies that demonstrate localization of face sensitive areas in children using an event-related beamformer approach for MEG. 
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