Successful interaction with one's visual environment is paramount to developing and performing many basic and complex mental functions. Although major aspects of visual development are completed at an early age, other structural and functional components of visual processing appear to be dynamically changing across a much more protracted period extending into late childhood and adolescence. However, the underlying neurophysiological changes and cortical oscillatory dynamics that support maturation of the visual system during this developmental period remain poorly understood. The present study utilized magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate maturational changes in the neural dynamics serving basic visual processing during childhood and adolescence (ages 9–15, n = 69). Our key results included robust sex differences in alpha oscillatory activity within the left posterior parietal cortex, and sex-by-age interactions in gamma activity in the right lingual gyrus and superior parietal lobule. Hierarchical regression revealed that the peak frequency of both the alpha and gamma responses predicted response power in parietal regions above and beyond the noted effects of age and sex. These findings affirm the view that neural oscillations supporting visual processing develop over a much more protracted period, and illustrate that these maturational trajectories are influenced by numerous elements, including age, sex, and individual variation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience