Cerebral event-related potentials associated with selective attention to color: Developmental changes from childhood to adulthood


Address reprint requests to: Odin van der Stelt, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Academic Medical Center University of Amsterdam, P.O. Box 22700, 1100 DE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Event-related potentials were recorded from 80 participants ranging in age from 7 to 24 years while they attended selectively to stimuli with a specified color (red or blue) in an attempt to detect the occurrence of target stimuli. Color attention effects were identified as frontal selection positivity (FSP; 140–275 ms), selection negativity (SN; 150–300 ms), and N2b (200–450 ms), whereas target detection was reflected in P3b (300–700 ms). There were age-related decreases in the latencies of FSP, N2b, and P3b that paralleled decreases in reaction time and error rates. Also, the SN amplitude increased with advancing age, whereas both N2b and P3b showed changes in scalp topography. These results represent neurophysiological evidence that the efficiency of visual selective processes increases during childhood and adolescence. Developmental growth may take place at both relatively early and late levels of visual selective information processing.