Early cortical specialization for face-to-face communication in human infants

Grossmann, T., Johnson, M. H., Lloyd-Fox, S., Blasi, A., Deligianni, F. , Elwell, C. and Csibra, G. (2008) Early cortical specialization for face-to-face communication in human infants. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 275(1653), pp. 2803-2811. (doi:10.1098/rspb.2008.0986) (PMID:18755668) (PMCID:PMC2572680)

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Abstract

This study examined the brain bases of early human social cognitive abilities. Specifically, we investigated whether cortical regions implicated in adults' perception of facial communication signals are functionally active in early human development. Four-month-old infants watched two kinds of dynamic scenarios in which a face either established mutual gaze or averted its gaze, both of which were followed by an eyebrow raise with accompanying smile. Haemodynamic responses were measured by near-infrared spectroscopy, permitting spatial localization of brain activation (experiment 1), and gamma-band oscillatory brain activity was analysed from electroencephalography to provide temporal information about the underlying cortical processes (experiment 2). The results revealed that perceiving facial communication signals activates areas in the infant temporal and prefrontal cortex that correspond to the brain regions implicated in these processes in adults. In addition, mutual gaze itself, and the eyebrow raise with accompanying smile in the context of mutual gaze, produce similar cortical activations. This pattern of results suggests an early specialization of the cortical network involved in the perception of facial communication cues, which is essential for infants' interactions with, and learning from, others.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Deligianni, Dr Fani
Authors: Grossmann, T., Johnson, M. H., Lloyd-Fox, S., Blasi, A., Deligianni, F., Elwell, C., and Csibra, G.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
Journal Name:Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN:0962-8452
ISSN (Online):1471-2954
Published Online:28 August 2008
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2008 The Royal Society
First Published:First published in Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences 275(1653): 2803-2811
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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