Magnetic source imaging and infant MEG: Current trends and technical advances

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is known for its temporal precision and good spatial resolution in cognitive brain research. Nonetheless, it is still rarely used in developmental research, and its role in developmental cognitive neuroscience is not adequately addressed. The current review focuses on the source analysis of MEG measurement and its potential to answer critical questions on neural activation origins and patterns underlying infants’ early cognitive experience. The advantages of MEG source localization are discussed in comparison with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), two leading imaging tools for studying cognition across age. Challenges of the current MEG experimental protocols are highlighted, including measurement and data processing, which could potentially be resolved by developing and improving both software and hardware. A selection of infant MEG research in auditory, speech, vision, motor, sleep, cross-modality, and clinical application is then summarized and discussed with a focus on the source localization analyses. Based on the literature review and the advancements of the infant MEG systems and source analysis software, typical practices of infant MEG data collection and analysis are summarized as the basis for future developmental cognitive research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number181
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 27 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: This work was supported by Brain Imaging Grant Award from the College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Cognitive development
  • Equivalent current dipole (ECD)
  • Infant
  • Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
  • Minimum norm estimation (MNE)
  • Source localization

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review


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