Optical imaging of infants' neurocognitive development: Recent advances and perspectives

Yasuyo Minagawa-Kawai, Koichi Mori, Jeremy C. Hebden, Emmanuel Dupoux

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) provides a unique method of monitoring infant brain function by measuring the changes in the concentrations of oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin. During the past 10 years, NIRS measurement of the developing brain has rapidly expanded. In this article, a brief discussion of the general principles of NIRS, including its technical advantages and limitations, is followed by a detailed review of the role played so far by NIRS in the study of infant perception and cognition, including language, and visual and auditory functions. Results have highlighted, in particular, the developmental changes of cerebral asymmetry associated with speech acquisition. Finally, suggestions for future studies of neurocognitive development using NIRS are presented. Although NIRS studies of the infant brain have yet to fulfill their potential, a review of the work done so far indicates that NIRS is likely to provide many unique insights in the field of developmental neuroscience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-728
Number of pages17
JournalDevelopmental Neurobiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008 May
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebral lateralization
  • Development
  • Functional brain activity
  • Infant
  • Language
  • Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS)
  • Neuroimaging
  • Speech

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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