Teodora Gliga

Teodora Gliga
University of East Anglia | UEA · School of Psychology

PhD

About

142
Publications
40,933
Reads
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4,023
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Introduction
I am interested in the early mechanisms of learning: How do infants figure out when to learn from the others and when on their own? What do they find interesting ? How does uncertainty and arousal affect their learning strategies ? Are epistemic drives atypical in disorders such as ASD or ADHD ?
Additional affiliations
January 2008 - December 2011
January 2007 - December 2012
University of London
January 2005 - December 2007

Publications

Publications (142)
Article
Full-text available
Investigating learning mechanisms in infancy relies largely on behavioural measures like visual attention, which often fail to predict whether stimuli would be encoded successfully. This study explored EEG activity in the theta frequency band, previously shown to predict successful learning in adults, to directly study infants' cognitive engagement...
Article
Full-text available
In addition to core symptoms, i.e., social interaction and communication difficulties and restricted and repetitive behaviors, autism is also characterized by aspects of superior perception [1]. One well-replicated finding is that of superior performance in visual search tasks, in which participants have to indicate the presence of an odd-one-out e...
Article
Full-text available
Humans’ preference for others who share our group membership is well documented, and this heightened valuation of in-group members seems to be rooted in early development. Before 12 mo of age, infants already show behavioral preferences for others who evidence cues to same-group membership such as race or native language, yet the function of this s...
Article
Full-text available
Infants’ minutes long babbling bouts or repetitive reaching for or mouthing of whatever they can get their hands on gives very much the impression of active exploration, a building block for early learning. But how can we tell apart active exploration from the activity of an immature motor system, attempting but failing to achieve goal directed beh...
Article
Full-text available
Although it is widely recognized that human infants build a sizeable conceptual repertoire before mastering language, it remains a matter of debate whether and to what extent early conceptual and category knowledge contributes to language development. We addressed this question by investigating whether 12-month-olds used preverbal categories to dis...
Article
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Sensory regulation, the ability to select and process sensory information to plan and perform appropriate behaviours, provides a foundation for learning. From early in development, infants manifest differences in the strategies used for sensory regulation. Here, we discuss the nature and characteristics of sensory seeking, a key behavioural strateg...
Article
Dimensional approaches to psychopathology interrogate the core neurocognitive domains interacting at the individual level to shape diagnostic symptoms. Embedding this approach in prospective longitudinal studies could transform our understanding of the mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders. Such designs require us to move beyond tradit...
Article
Full-text available
Caregiver touch is crucial for infants' healthy development, but its role in shaping infant cognition has been relatively understudied. In particular, despite strong premises to hypothesize its function in directing infant attention to social information, little empirical evidence exists on the topic. In this study, we investigated the associations...
Article
Full-text available
Children typically prefer to attend to social stimuli (e.g. faces, smiles) over non-social stimuli (e.g. natural scene, household objects). This preference for social stimuli is believed to be an essential building block for later social skills and healthy social development. Preference for social stimuli are typically measured using either passive...
Article
Full-text available
Slower habituation to repeating stimuli characterises Autism, but it is not known whether this is driven by difficulties with information processing or an attentional bias towards sameness. We conducted eye-tracking and presented looming geometrical shapes, clocks with moving arms and smiling faces, as two separate streams of stimuli (one repeating...
Article
Evidence from multiple empirical studies suggests children’s Executive Functions are depleted immediately after viewing some types of TV content but not others. Correlational evidence suggests any such effects may be most problematic during the pre-school years. To establish whether “screen-time” is developmentally appropriate at this age we believ...
Article
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Early executive functions (EFs) lay the foundations for academic and social outcomes. In this parent‐report study of 575 UK‐based 8‐ to 36 month olds (218 followed longitudinally), we investigate how variation in the home environment before and during the 2020 pandemic relates to infants’ emerging EFs. Parent‐infant enriching activities were positi...
Article
Full-text available
Backgrounds Atypicalities in tactile processing are reported in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but it remains unknown if they precede and associate with the traits of these disorders emerging in childhood. We investigated behavioural and neural markers of tactile sensory processing in infants at e...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Although autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is heritable, the mechanisms through which genes contribute to symptom emergence remain unclear. Investigating candidate intermediate phenotypes such as the pupillary light reflex (PLR) prospectively from early in development could bridge genotype and behavioural phenotype. Methods: Using eye t...
Article
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Internalising problems are common within Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); early intervention to support those with emerging signs may be warranted. One promising signal lies in how individual differences in temperament are shaped by parenting. Our longitudinal study of infants with and without an older sibling with ASD investigated how parenting ass...
Article
Previous research has provided rich evidence that a set of visual objects can be encoded in isolation along with their exact coordinate positions as well as a global configuration that provides a network of interrelated spatial information. However, much less data is available on how unoccupied locations are encoded and maintained in memory. We tes...
Preprint
Full-text available
Autism Spectrum Disorders, hereafter referred to as autism, emerge early and persist throughout life, contributing significantly to global years lived with disability. Typically, an autism diagnosis depends on clinical assessments by highly trained professionals. This high resource demand poses a challenge in resource-limited areas where skilled pe...
Article
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High-quality, centre-based education and care during the early years benefit cognitive development, especially in children from disadvantaged backgrounds. During the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated lockdowns, access to early childhood education and care (ECEC) was disrupted. We investigate how this period affected the developmental advantages...
Article
Full-text available
It was suggested that children’s referent selection may not lay memory traces sufficiently strong to lead to retention of new word-object mappings. If this was the case we expect children's incorrect selections to be easily rectified through feed-back. Previous work suggested that this was indeed the case in toddlers at typical likelihood (TL) but...
Article
Full-text available
To what extent does language shape how we think about the world? Studies suggest that linguistic symbols expressing conceptual categories ("apple", "squirrel") make us focus on categorical information (e.g., that you saw a squirrel) and disregard individual information (e.g., whether that squirrel had a long or short tail). Across two experiments w...
Article
Representing objects in terms of their kinds enables inferences based on the long-term knowledge made available through kind concepts. For example, children readily use lexical knowledge linked to familiar kind concepts to disambiguate new words (e.g., “find the toma”): they exclude members of familiar kinds falling under familiar kind labels (e.g....
Preprint
Full-text available
High-quality, centre-based education and care during the early years benefits cognitive development, especially in children from disadvantaged backgrounds. During the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated lockdowns, access to early childhood education and care (ECEC) was disrupted. We investigate how this period affected the developmental advantages...
Article
Full-text available
Background Early identification of preschool children who are at risk of faltering in their development is essential to ensuring that all children attain their full potential. Electroencephalography (EEG) has been used to measure neural correlates of cognitive and social development in children for decades. Effective portable and low-cost EEG devic...
Article
Full-text available
Naturally occurring high levels of caregiver touch promote offspring development in many animal species. Yet, caregiver touch remains a relatively understudied topic in human development, possibly due to challenges of measuring this means of interaction. While parental reports (e.g., questionnaires, diaries) are easy to collect, they may be subject...
Article
A discrepancy between what was predicted and what is observed has been linked to increased looking times, changes in brain electrical activity, and increased pupil dilation in infants. These processes associated with heightened attention and readiness to learn might enhance the encoding and memory consolidation of the surprising object, as suggeste...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Atypicalities in tactile processing are reported in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) but it remains unknown if they precede and associate with traits of these disorders emerging in childhood. We investigated behavioural and neural markers of tactile sensory processing in infants at eleva...
Article
The aim of this study was to explore the associations between temperamental reactivity and regulation and the emergence of anxiety traits in a longitudinal sample of infants enriched for later ASD. Parents of 143 infants who were at high- and low-risk for ASD rated their child’s temperament traits when they were 9, 15 and 24 months old; they rated...
Article
Full-text available
Identifying developmental endophenotypes on the pathway between genetics and behavior is critical to uncovering the mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental conditions. In this proof-of-principle study, we explored whether early disruptions in visual attention are a unique or shared candidate endophenotype of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and atte...
Article
Shared difficulties with cognitive control may play a role in co-occurring mental health problems frequently observed in autistic children. We investigated how different cognitive control processes (inhibitory control, conflict resolution, cognitive flexibility) associated with traits of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/hyperactivi...
Article
Full-text available
Individual differences in infants’ engagement with their environment manifest early in development and are noticed by parents. Three views have been advanced to explain differences in seeking novel stimulation. The optimal stimulation hypothesis suggests that individuals seek further stimulation when they are under-responsive to sensory input. The...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background Previous research has suggested that atypical attention in autism might be driven by a preference for sameness over novelty. There is also evidence of slower habituation to a repeating stimulus in autism. It is not known whether slower habituation is driven by atypically slower processing of repeating information or whether it is a manif...
Preprint
Dimensional approaches to psychopathology interrogate the core neurocognitive domains interacting at the individual level to shape diagnostic symptoms. Embedding this approach in prospective longitudinal studies could transform our understanding of the mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders. Such designs require us to move beyond tradit...
Article
Full-text available
Impaired face processing is proposed to play a key role in the early development of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and to be an endophenotypic trait which indexes genetic risk for the disorder. However, no published work has examined the development of face processing abilities from infancy into the school-age years and how they relate to ASD sympt...
Article
Full-text available
Impaired face processing is proposed to play a key role in the early development of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and to be an endophenotypic trait which indexes genetic risk for the disorder. However, no published work has examined the development of face processing abilities from infancy into the school-age years and how they relate to ASD sympt...
Preprint
Human beings typically prefer social stimuli (e.g. faces, smiles) over nonsocial stimuli. This social preference is believed to be an essential building block for later social skills and healthy social development. Measuring social preference poses an empirical challenge, as it encompasses multiple underlying processes. In this study, we use a pref...
Article
Full-text available
Reduced gaze following has been associated previously with lower language scores in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Here, we use eye-tracking in a controlled experimental setting to investigate whether gaze following and attention distribution during a word learning task associate with later developmental and clinical outcomes in a po...
Article
Autistic individuals can be socially motivated. We disagree with the idea that self-report is sufficient to understand their social drive. Instead, we underscore evidence for typical non-verbal signatures of social reward during the early development of autistic individuals. Instead of focusing on whether or not social motivation is typical, resear...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Reduced executive functions (EF) are commonly associated with developmental conditions (e.g., autism spectrum disorder, ASD; attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, ADHD), although EF seems to be typical in children with callous unemotional (CU) traits. Regulatory function (RF) is a proposed infant precursor that maps on onto factors...
Preprint
Full-text available
Reduced gaze following has been associated previously with lower language scores in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Here we use eye-tracking in a controlled experimental setting to investigate whether gaze following and attention distribution during a word learning task associate with later developmental and clinical outcomes in a pop...
Article
Full-text available
In a seminal study, Yoon, Johnson and Csibra [PNAS, 105, 36 (2008)] showed that nine-month-old infants retained qualitatively different information about novel objects in communicative and non-communicative contexts. In a communicative context, the infants encoded the identity of novel objects at the expense of encoding their location, which was pr...
Preprint
Full-text available
In a seminal study, Yoon, Johnson and Csibra [PNAS, 105, 36 (2008)] showed that nine-month-old infants retained qualitatively different information about novel objects in communicative and non-communicative contexts. In a communicative context, the infants encoded the identity of novel objects at the expense of encoding their location, which was pr...
Article
Full-text available
Dysregulation of cortical excitation/inhibition (E/I) has been proposed as a neuropathological mechanism underlying core symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Determining whether dysregulated E/I could contribute to the emergence of behavioural symptoms of ASD requires evidence from human infants prior to diagnosis. In this prospective longit...
Article
Full-text available
Parents participating in a prospective longitudinal study of infants with older siblings with autism completed an autism screening questionnaire and were asked about any concerns relating to their child’s development, and children were administered an interactive assessment conducted by a researcher at 14 months. Scores on the parent questionnaire...
Article
Full-text available
Background Difficulties with executive functioning (EF) are common in individuals with a range of developmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Interventions that target underlying mechanisms of EF early in development could be broadly beneficial, but require infant markers of such mechanisms in order to be feasible. Prospectiv...
Article
Full-text available
Faces capture and maintain infants’ attention more than other visual stimuli. The present study addresses the impact of early language experience on attention to faces in infancy. It was hypothesized that infants learning two spoken languages (unimodal bilinguals) and hearing infants of Deaf mothers learning British Sign Language and spoken English...
Poster
Full-text available
This study investigated whether habituation and novelty preference were reduced in typically developing children with higher traits of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as compared to children with lower traits. We also investigated the stimulus dependence of these differences, that is, whether differences in novelty preference were dependent on stimu...
Preprint
Full-text available
Infant's minutes long babbling bouts or energetic reaching for or mouthing of whatever they can get their hands on gives very much the impression of active exploration, a building block for early learning. But how can we tell active exploration from the activity of an immature motor system, attempting but failing to achieve goal directed behaviour?...
Preprint
Full-text available
[Accepted at Infant Behavior and Development] In a seminal study, Yoon, Johnson and Csibra [PNAS, 105, 36 (2008)] showed that nine-month-old infants retained qualitatively different information about novel objects in communicative and non-communicative contexts. In a communicative context, the infants encoded the identity of novel objects at the ex...
Article
Full-text available
In adults, affective touch leads to widespread activation of cortical areas including posterior Superior Temporal Sulcus (pSTS) and Inferior Frontal Gyrus (IFG). Using functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), we asked whether similar areas are activated in 5-month-old infants, by comparing affective to non-affective touch. We contrasted a hum...
Poster
Infants learn from social communication, and ostensive-referential communication is argued to be pivotal in this respect. Yoon, Johnson and Csibra (2008) found that after viewing a communicative scene, 9-month-olds detected object identity changes more than object location changes. But after viewing a non-communicative scene, infants detected objec...
Article
Full-text available
Background. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have co-occurring symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and/or anxiety. It is unclear whether these disorders arise from shared or distinct developmental pathways. We explored this question by testing the specificity of early-life (infant and toddler) predictors of...
Article
Full-text available
In adults, affective touch leads to widespread activation of cortical areas including posterior Superior Temporal Sulcus (pSTS) and Inferior Frontal Gyrus (IFG). Using functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), we asked whether similar areas are activated in 5-month-old infants, by comparing affective to non-affective touch. We contrasted a hum...
Article
Full-text available
In adults, affective touch leads to widespread activation of cortical areas including posterior Superior Temporal Sulcus (pSTS) and Inferior Frontal Gyrus (IFG). Using functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), we asked whether similar areas are activated in 5-month-old infants, by comparing affective to non-affective touch. We contrasted a hum...
Article
Full-text available
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition affecting around 1% of the population. We previously discovered that infant siblings of children with ASD had stronger pupillary light reflexes compared to low-risk infants, a result which contrasts sharply with the weak pupillary light reflex typically seen in both children and adult...
Data
Fig. S1. A schematic of the infant head showing channels with statistically significant HbO2 responses for the low risk (green), high risk – no ASD (yellow) and high risk – ASD (purple) groups in the channel‐by‐channel analysis for the visual social vs. baseline, auditory vocal > non‐vocal and non‐vocal > vocal contrasts (t‐test, two‐tailed, P < 0....