The development of the relationship between auditory and visual neural sensitivity and autonomic arousal from 6 m to 12 m

Article


Daubney, K., Suata, Z., Marriott Haresign, I., Thomas, M., Kushnerenko, E. and Wass, S. V. 2023. The development of the relationship between auditory and visual neural sensitivity and autonomic arousal from 6 m to 12 m. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. 63 (Art. 101289). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2023.101289
AuthorsDaubney, K., Suata, Z., Marriott Haresign, I., Thomas, M., Kushnerenko, E. and Wass, S. V.
Abstract

The differential sensitivity hypothesis argues that environmental sensitivity has the bivalent effect of predisposing individuals to both the risk-inducing and development-enhancing influences of early social environments. However, the hypothesis requires that this variation in environmental sensitivity be general across domains. In this study, we focused on neural sensitivity and autonomic arousal to test domain generality. Neural sensitivity can be assessed by correlating measures of perceptual sensitivity, as indexed by event-related potentials (ERP) in electrophysiology. The sensitivity of autonomic arousal can be tested via heart rate changes. Domain generality was tested by comparing associations in perceptual sensitivity across auditory and visual domains, and associations between sensitivity in sensory domains and heart rate. We contrasted ERP components in auditory (P3) and visual (P1, N290 and P4) detection-of-difference tasks for N = 68 infants longitudinally at 6 and 12 months of age. Domain generality should produce correlated individual differences in sensitivity across the two modalities, with higher levels of autonomic arousal associating with increased perceptual sensitivity. Having controlled for multiple comparisons, at 6 months of age, the difference in amplitude of the P3 component evoked in response to standard and deviant tones correlated with the difference in amplitude of the P1 N290 and P4 face-sensitive components evoked in response to fearful and neutral faces. However, this correlation was not found at 12 months of age. Similarly, autonomic arousal correlated with neural sensitivity at 6 months but not at 12 months. The results suggest bottom-up neural perceptual sensitivity is domain-general across auditory and visual domains and is related to autonomic arousal at 6 months but not at 12 months of age. We interpret the development of the association of these markers of ES within a neuroconstructivist framework and with respect to the concept of interactive specialisation. By 12 months of age, more experience of visual processing may have led to top-down endogenous attention mechanisms that process visual information in a way that no longer associates with automatic auditory perceptual sensitivity.

JournalDevelopmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Journal citation63 (Art. 101289)
ISSN1878-9293
Year2023
PublisherElsevier
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Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2023.101289
Publication dates
Online17 Aug 2023
PrintOct 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted08 Aug 2023
Deposited21 Aug 2023
FunderEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Copyright holder© 2023, The Authors
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