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  • Writer's pictureNadene Dermody

New paper uses brain imaging to see if children can follow instructions in their heads

Could we use neuroimaging to infer task-following in nonspeaking children? In our new paper, just accepted for publication in Neuropsychologia, we used functional transcranial Doppler ultrasound (fTCD) to record the blood flow velocity to the two brain hemispheres of children while they “helped a pirate find treasure” by silently performing a language task (typically more left-lateralised) or a visuo-spatial task (typically more right-lateralised) in their heads. The current results provide evidence that the portable and non-invasive fTCD method can be used to record task-following in at least half of our neurotypical participants, forming a promising basis for the use of neuroimaging to measure cognition in populations that cannot reliably communicate.

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