Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is becoming a popular tool in developmental neuroscience for mapping functional localized brain responses. However, as it cannot provide information about underlying anatomy, researchers have begun to conduct spatial registration of fNIRS channels to cortical anatomy in adults. The current work investigated this issue with infants by coregistering fNIRS and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data from 55 individuals. Our findings suggest that fNIRS channels can be reliably registered with regions in the frontal and temporal cortex of infants from 4 to 7 months of age. Although some macro-anatomical regions are difficult to consistently define, others are more stable and fNIRS channels on an age-appropriate MRI template are often consistent with individual infant MRIs. We have generated a standardized scalp surface map of fNIRS channel locators to reliably locate cortical regions for fNIRS developmental researchers. This new map can be used to identify the inferior frontal gyrus, superior temporal sulcus (STS) region [which includes the superior and middle temporal gyri (MTG) nearest to the STS], and MTG and temporal-parietal regions in 4- to 7-month-old infants. Future work will model data for the whole head, taking into account the properties of light transport in tissue, and expanding to different ages across development.
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