14 challenges for conducting social neuroscience and longitudinal EEG research with infants

Article


Noreika, V., Georgieva, S., Wass, S. and Leong, V. 2019. 14 challenges for conducting social neuroscience and longitudinal EEG research with infants. Infant Behavior and Development.
AuthorsNoreika, V., Georgieva, S., Wass, S. and Leong, V.
Abstract

The use of electroencephalography (EEG) to study infant brain development is a growing trend. In addition to classical longitudinal designs that study the development of the neural, cognitive and behavioural function, new areas of EEG application are emerging, such as novel social neuroscience paradigms using dual infant-adult EEG recordings. However, most of the experimental designs, analysis methods, as well as EEG hardware were originally developed for single-person adult research. When applied to the study of infant development, adult-based solutions often pose unique problems that may go unrecognised. Here, we identify 14 challenges that infant EEG researchers may encounter when designing new experiments, collecting data, and conducting data analysis. Challenges related to the experimental design are: (1) small sample size and data attrition, and (2) varying arousal in younger infants. Challenges related to data acquisition are: (3) determining the optimal location for reference and ground electrodes, (4) control of impedance when testing with the high-density sponge electrode nets, (5) poor fit of standard EEG caps to the varying infant head shapes, and (6) ensuring a high degree of temporal synchronisation between amplifiers and recording devices during dual-EEG acquisition. Challenges related to the analysis of longitudinal and social neuroscience datasets are: (7) developmental changes in head anatomy, (8) prevalence and diversity of infant myogenic artefacts, (9) a lack of stereotypical topography of eye movements needed for the ICA-based data cleaning, (10) and relatively high inter-individual variability of EEG responses in younger cohorts. Additional challenges for the analysis of dual EEG data are: (11) developmental shifts in canonical EEG rhythms and difficulties in differentiating true inter-personal synchrony from spurious synchrony due to (12) common intrinsic properties of the signal and (13) shared external perturbation. Finally, (14) there is a lack of test-retest reliability studies of infant EEG. We describe each
of these challenges and suggest possible solutions. While we focus specifically on the social neuroscience and longitudinal research, many of the issues we raise are relevant for all fields of infant EEG research.

JournalInfant Behavior and Development
ISSN0163-6383
Year2019
PublisherElsevier
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.infbeh.2019.101393
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2019.101393
Publication dates
Online09 Dec 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted15 Nov 2019
Deposited19 Nov 2019
FunderEconomic and Social Research Council
Economic and Social Research Council
Copyright holder© 2019 Elsevier
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Accepted author manuscript

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