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Optical imaging during toddlerhood: brain responses during naturalistic social interactions
Author(s): Yoko Hakuno; Laura Pirazzoli; Anna Blasi; Mark H. Johnson; Sarah Lloyd-Fox
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Paper Abstract

Despite the importance of our ability to interact and communicate with others, the early development of the social brain network remains poorly understood. We examined brain activity in 12- to 14-month-old infants while they were interacting live with an adult in two different naturalistic social scenarios (i.e., reading a picture book versus singing nursery rhymes with gestures), as compared to baseline (i.e., showing infants a toy without eye contact or speech). We used functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) recorded over the right temporal lobe of infants to assess the role of the superior temporal sulcus-temporoparietal junction (STS-TPJ) region during naturalistic social interactions. We observed increased cortical activation in the STS-TPJ region to live social stimuli in both socially engaging conditions compared to baseline during real life interaction, with greater activation evident for the joint attention (reading book) condition relative to the social nursery rhymes. These results supported the view that the STS-TPJ region, engaged in the cortical social brain network, is already specialized in infants for processing social signals and is sensitive to communicative situations. This study also highlighted the potential of fNIRS for studying brain function in infants entering toddlerhood during live social interaction.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 January 2018
PDF: 11 pages
Neurophoton. 5(1) 011020 doi: 10.1117/1.NPh.5.1.011020
Published in: Neurophotonics Volume 5, Issue 1
Show Author Affiliations
Yoko Hakuno, Keio Univ. (Japan)
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Japan)
Laura Pirazzoli, Birkbeck, Univ. of London (United Kingdom)
Anna Blasi, Birkbeck, Univ. of London (United Kingdom)
Mark H. Johnson, Birkbeck, Univ. of London (United Kingdom)
Univ. of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
Sarah Lloyd-Fox, Birkbeck, Univ. of London (United Kingdom)
Univ. of Cambridge (United Kingdom)

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