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Dorsal stream function in the young child: an fMRIinvestigation of visually guided action

Abstract

Visually guided action is a ubiquitous component of human behavior, but the neural substrates that support the development of this behavior are unknown. Here we take an initial step in documenting visual‐motor system development in the young (4‐ to 7‐year‐old) child. Through functional MRI and by using a new technique to measure the mechanisms underlying real‐time visually guided action in the MRI environment, we demonstrate that children rely primarily on the IPS and cerebellum for this complex behavior. This pattern is consistent across three different visually guided actions, suggesting generalizability of these neural substrates across such tasks. However, minor differences in neural processing across tasks were also demonstrated. Overall, results are interpreted as demonstrating that the functions of the dorsal stream can be viewed as fairly mature in the young child. These results provide a benchmark for future studies that aim to understand the development of the neural circuitry for visually guided action.

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