G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Functional significance of auditory cortex activation for cognitive skills in children (2023)

Van Bijnen, S. (2023). Functional significance of auditory cortex activation for cognitive skills in children [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Jyväskylä. JYU dissertations, 615. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-9508-9

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsVan Bijnen, Sam


Journal or seriesJYU dissertations


Publication year2023

Number in series615

Number of pages in the book1 verkkoaineisto (62 sivua, 23 sivua useina numerointijaksoina, 3 numeroimatonta sivua)

PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä

Publication countryFinland

Publication languageEnglish

Persistent website addresshttp://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-9508-9

Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel


Children and adults show marked differences in their neural processing of auditory information. Most notably, children show a robust, prolonged activation pattern at ~250 ms after auditory stimulation, as measured by electro- and magnetoencephalography (M/EEG). Furthermore, auditory processing during development is crucial in enabling essential skills such as reading, writing, and language learning. Recently, this list of skills that rely on the proper development of the auditory cortex has been extended to include more general cognitive skills such as executive functioning and attention. The current literature has related auditory processes in children, especially in the left hemisphere, to performance on language-related tasks, but the extent of the functional significance of a developing auditory system remains elusive. This dissertation aims to (i) provide a comprehensive account of the functional significance of the prolonged activation pattern in children and (ii) examine the associations between auditory activation and performance on language, attention, and inhibition tasks in children and adults. In study I, source analysis of the activation pattern at ~250 ms showed stronger responses in children with delayed language development compared to typical controls. However, in the clinical group, the left hemisphere activation strength correlated positively with performance on a phonological processing task. Study II investigated the association between auditory activation and attention and inhibition tasks in typical developing children and found that, while the activation strength was unaffected by the task demands, stronger left hemisphere activation was associated with a superior performance on certain inhibition tasks. Finally, study III contrasted the auditory activation patterns of children and adults and investigated their functional significance for response inhibition. We found divergent associations between auditory activation and inhibition task performance in children and adults. Together, the results suggest a functional difference in the auditory processing of adults and children: children seem to rely more strongly on auditory cortical activation until more automatized auditory processing is established in adulthood, which seems especially important for competent language development and inhibitory control.

Keywordssense of hearinglanguage developmentcognitive developmentcognitive skillslearningbrain researchMEGEEGneuropsychologydoctoral dissertations

Free keywordsdevelopment; magnetoencephalography (MEG); electroencephalography (EEG); language; auditory processing; cognition; response inhibition

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2023

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 22:07