G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Attentional subprocesses in typical and atypically developing children as revealed using brain electrical activity (2021)
Tarkkaavaisuuden osaprosessit tyypillisesti ja epätyypillisesti kehittyvillä lapsilla aivosähkötoiminnan perusteella

Santhana Gopalan, P. R. (2021). Attentional subprocesses in typical and atypically developing children as revealed using brain electrical activity [Doctoral dissertation]. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU Dissertations, 357. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8542-4

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Santhana Gopalan, Praghajieeth Raajhen

eISBN: 978-951-39-8542-4

Journal or series: JYU Dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2021

Number in series: 357

Number of pages in the book: 1 verkkoaineisto (66 sivua, 33 sivua useina numerointijaksoina, 6 numeroimatonta sivua)

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8542-4

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


Visual attention identifies and extracts relevant information from visual inputs and inhibits irrelevant information. Attention Network Theory proposes three functional subprocesses known as alerting, orienting, and inhibition. The aim of this dissertation is to investigate neural signatures, using electroencephalography (EEG) and brain eventrelated potentials (ERPs), of these attentional subprocesses in typically developing school-aged children, children with attentional problems (AP), and children with reading difficulties (RD) during the Attention Network Test (ANT). Study I aimed to investigate the reaction time (RT) performance, the target-related N1 amplitude associated with alerting and orienting, and the P3 associated with inhibition subprocesses, and to disentangle the neuronal sources related to these subprocesses of the attention network in typically developing children. RT performance in children was similar to typical ANT RT performance. The modulation of N1 amplitude for alerting and orienting subprocesses reflected the enhanced processing of the target stimulus followed by warning and spatial cues, respectively. The P3 amplitude modulation reflected the discriminability of the target stimulus from its flankers. Source-level analysis revealed reduced top-down control in children, compared to what is typically found in adults, for alerting and orienting subprocesses, evidenced by a lack of frontoparietal network activation. Study II evaluated how the attentional subprocesses differ in children with learning problems, i.e. attentional problems (AP) or reading difficulties (RD). The results of Study II did not show any differences in the RT performance and in the field potentials of ERPs between control children and children with learning problems. Neuronal source analysis of ERPs showed that children with AP had enhanced activity in the left occipital lobe compared to control and RD groups for the alerting network. The control children showed lower activity in the left occipital lobe compared to the AP and RD groups for the orienting network. This suggests a differential underlying functioning of attentional subprocesses in AP and RD children. Study III investigated the time-frequency power spectrum of ERPs in control children performing ANT. The results of Study III illustrated the different underlying spectral power mechanisms for attentional subprocesses in children. Overall, the findings of this dissertation confirm previous behavioural and ERP findings in children during ANTtask and, expand on these results by demonstrating atypical attentional subprocesses in children with AP and RD. In addition, the dissertation provides new knowledge of the neuronal sources and time-frequency indices of the attentional subprocesses to the growing body of literature on the attention network in children.

Keywords: children (age groups); attention; observation; learning difficulties; reading disorders; neuropsychology; cognitive neuroscience; brain research

Free keywords: attentional network; children; attentional problems; reading difficulties; source analysis; time-frequency analysis

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

Last updated on 2022-15-06 at 16:36