Functional activation of the infant cortex during object processing.

Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.13). 05/2012; 62(3):1833-40. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.05.039
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A great deal is known about the functional organization of the neural structures that mediate visual object processing in the adult observer. These findings have contributed significantly to our conceptual models of object recognition and identification and provided unique insight into the nature of object representations extracted from visual input. In contrast, little is known about the neural basis of object processing in the infant. The current research used near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) as a neuroimaging tool to investigate functional activation of the infant cortex during an object processing task that has been used extensively with infants. The neuroimaging data revealed that the infant cortex is functionally specialized for object processing (i.e., individuation-by-feature) early in the first year but that patterns of activation also change between 3 and 12 months. These changes may reflect functional reorganization of the immature cortex or age-related differences in the cognitive processes engaged during the task.

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    ABSTRACT: A great deal is known about the functional organization of cortical networks that mediate visual object processing in the adult. The current research is part of a growing effort to identify the functional maturation of these pathways in the developing brain. The current research used near-infrared spectroscopy to investigate functional activation of the infant cortex during the processing of featural information (shape) and spatiotemporal information (speed of motion) during the first year of life. Our investigation focused on two areas that were implicated in previous studies: anterior temporal cortex and posterior parietal cortex. Neuroimaging data were collected with 207 infants across three age groups: 3 to 6months (Experiment 1), 7 to 8months (Experiment 2), and 10 to 12months (Experiments 3 and 4). The neuroimaging data revealed age-related changes in patterns of activation to shape and speed information, mostly involving posterior parietal areas, some of which were predicted and others that were not. We suggest that these changes reflect age-related differences in the perceptual and/or cognitive processes engaged during the task.
    NeuroImage 05/2014; · 6.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is an emerging imaging technique that is relatively inexpensive, portable, and particularly well suited for collecting data in ecological settings. Therefore, it holds promise as a potential neurodiagnostic for young children. We set out to explore whether NIRS could be utilized in assessing the risk of developmental psychopathology in young children. A growing body of work indicates that temperament at young age is associated with vulnerability to psychopathology later on in life. In particular, it has been shown that low effortful control (EC), which includes the focusing and shifting of attention, inhibitory control, perceptual sensitivity, and a low threshold for pleasure, is linked to conditions such as anxiety, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Physiologically, EC has been linked to a control network spanning among other sites the prefrontal cortex. Several psychopathologies, such as depression and ADHD, have been shown to result in compromised small-world network properties. Therefore we set out to explore the relationship between EC and the small-world properties of PFC using NIRS. NIRS data were collected from 44 toddlers, ages 3-5, while watching naturalistic stimuli (movie clips). Derived complex network measures were then correlated to EC as derived from the Children's Behavior Questionnaire (CBQ). We found that reduced levels of EC were associated with compromised small-world properties of the prefrontal network. Our results suggest the longitudinal NIRS studies of complex network properties in young children hold promise in furthering our understanding of developmental psychopathology.
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May 20, 2014