Children’s EEG Indices of Directed Attention during Somatosensory Anticipation: Relations with Executive Function


Children’s ability to direct attention to salient stimuli is a key aspect of cognitive functioning. Here we examined the magnitude and lateralization of EEG indices during somatosensory anticipation elicited by a left or right directional cue indicating the bodily location of an upcoming tactile stimulus. In 50 children aged 6-8 years, somatosensory anticipation was accompanied by anticipatory negativity and alpha mu rhythm desynchronization at contralateral central electrode sites (C3 and C4) overlying the hand area of the somatosensory cortex. Individual differences in these contralateral brain responses during somatosensory anticipation were associated with scores on a flanker task of executive function. The results suggest that processes involved in directing attention in the tactile modality may overlap with those involved in broader executive function abilities.

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