Oxford University Press, Cerebral Cortex, 12(30), p. 6405-6414, 2020
Abstract Numerous recent studies have sought to determine the developmental trajectories of motor-related oscillatory responses from youth to adulthood. However, most of this work has relied on simple movements, and rarely have these studies linked developmental neural changes with maturational improvements in motor performance. In this study, we recorded magnetoencephalography during a complex finger-tapping task in a large sample of 107 healthy youth aged 9–15 years old. The relationships between region-specific neural activity, age, and performance metrics were examined using structural equation modeling. We found strong developmental effects on behavior and beta oscillatory activity during movement planning, as well as associations between planning-related beta activity and activity within the same region during the movement execution period. However, when all factors were tested, we found that only right parietal cortex beta dynamics mediated the relationship between age and performance on the task. These data suggest that strong, sustained beta activity within the right parietal cortex enhances motor performance, and that these sustained oscillations develop through childhood into early adolescence. In sum, these are the first data to link developmental trajectories in beta oscillatory dynamics with distinct motor performance metrics and implicate the right parietal cortex as a crucial hub in movement execution.