The neural correlates of orienting to walking direction in 6-month-old infants: An ERP study

Article


Lunghi, M., Piccardi, E. S., Richards, J. E. and Simion, F. 2019. The neural correlates of orienting to walking direction in 6-month-old infants: An ERP study. Developmental Science. 22 (Art. e12811). https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12811
AuthorsLunghi, M., Piccardi, E. S., Richards, J. E. and Simion, F.
Abstract

The ability to detect social signals represents a first step to enter our social world. Behavioral evidence has demonstrated that 6-month-old infants are able to orient their attention toward the position indicated by walking direction, showing faster orienting responses toward stimuli cued by the direction of motion than toward uncued stimuli. The present study investigated the neural mechanisms underpinning this attentional priming effect by using a spatial cueing paradigm and recording EEG (Geodesic System 128 channels) from 6-month-old infants. Infants were presented with a central point-light walker followed by a single peripheral target. The target appeared randomly at a position either congruent or incongruent with the walking direction of the cue. We examined infants' target-locked event-related potential (ERP) responses and we used cortical source analysis to explore which brain regions gave rise to the ERP responses. The P1 component and saccade latencies toward the peripheral target were modulated by the congruency between the walking direction of the cue and the position of the target. Infants' saccade latencies were faster in response to targets appearing at congruent spatial locations. The P1 component was larger in response to congruent than to incongruent targets and a similar congruency effect was found with cortical source analysis in the parahippocampal gyrus and the anterior fusiform gyrus. Overall, these findings suggest that a type of biological motion like the one of a vertebrate walking on the legs can trigger covert orienting of attention in 6-month-old infants, enabling enhancement of neural activity related to visual processing of potentially relevant information as well as a facilitation of oculomotor responses to stimuli appearing at the attended location.

JournalDevelopmental Science
Journal citation22 (Art. e12811)
ISSN1363-755X
Year2019
PublisherWiley
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12811
Publication dates
Online11 Feb 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted02 Feb 2019
Deposited05 Apr 2022
FunderMinistero dell'Istruzione dell'Università e della Ricerca
Copyright holder© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Additional information

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Lunghi, M, Piccardi, E.S, Richards, J.E, Simion, F. The neural correlates of orienting to walking direction in 6-month-old infants: An ERP study. Dev Sci. 2019; 22:e12811, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12811. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.

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Accepted author manuscript
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License: Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions
File access level: Anyone

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