Development of the EEG from 5 months to 4 years of age

Peter J. Marshall*, Yair Bar-Haim, Nathan A. Fox

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This report provides a systematic longitudinal analysis of the EEG from infancy into early childhood. Particular emphasis is placed on the empirical confirmation of a 6-9Hz alpha-range frequency band that has previously been used in the infant EEG literature. Methods: EEG data in 1-Hz bins from 3 to 12Hz were analyzed from a longitudinal sample of 29 participants at 5, 10, 14, 24, and 51 months of age. Results: Inspection of power spectra averaged across the whole sample indicated the emergence of a peak in the 6-9Hz range across multiple scalp regions. Coding of peaks in the power spectra of individual infants showed a clear developmental increase in the frequency of this peak. A rhythm in the 6-9Hz emerged at central sites that was independent of the classical alpha rhythm at posterior sites. The relative amplitude of this central rhythm peaked in the second year of life, when major changes are occurring in locomotor behavior. Conclusions: The 6-9 Hz band is a useful alpha-range band from the end of the first year of life into early childhood. The findings also complement other research relating the infant central rhythm with the adult sensorimotor mu rhythm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1199-1208
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2002


FundersFunder number
National Institute of Health32666, 17899
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentR37HD017899


    • Alpha rhythm
    • Development
    • Electroencephalogram
    • Infant
    • Mu rhythm


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