The ability to establish a connection between the direction of the other's gaze and the object that is observed has important implications in the development of social cognition and learning. In this study, we analyzed alpha and theta band oscillations in one group of 9-month-old infants by implementing a face-to-face live paradigm, which presented the infants with a triadic social interaction with a real human being. We compared neural activations in two experimental conditions: Congruent and Incongruent gaze shift following the appearance of an object. In the Incongruent object-gaze shift condition, we observed an increase of the theta power in comparison with the Congruent condition. We also found an enhancement of the alpha activity during the Congruent versus the Incongruent object-gaze condition. These findings confirm the involvement of the theta and alpha band activity in the detection of the gaze of others when it shifts toward a referential target. We consider that the theta band modulation could be associated with the processing of unexpected events. Furthermore, the increase of the alpha band activity during the Congruent object-gaze condition seems to be in agreement with prior findings on the mechanisms of internally controlled attention that emerge before the first year of life. The implementation of a live paradigm elicited a partially different oscillatory pattern in comparison with non-live standard paradigms, supporting the importance of an ecological set-up reproducing real-life conditions to study the development of social cognition.

Alpha and theta brain activity in 9-month-old infants during a live referential gaze paradigm

Angelini, Laura;Tamburro, Gabriella
;
Lionetti, Francesca;Spinelli, Maria;Comani, Silvia;Zappasodi, Filippo;Fasolo, Mirco;Aureli, Tiziana
2023-01-01

Abstract

The ability to establish a connection between the direction of the other's gaze and the object that is observed has important implications in the development of social cognition and learning. In this study, we analyzed alpha and theta band oscillations in one group of 9-month-old infants by implementing a face-to-face live paradigm, which presented the infants with a triadic social interaction with a real human being. We compared neural activations in two experimental conditions: Congruent and Incongruent gaze shift following the appearance of an object. In the Incongruent object-gaze shift condition, we observed an increase of the theta power in comparison with the Congruent condition. We also found an enhancement of the alpha activity during the Congruent versus the Incongruent object-gaze condition. These findings confirm the involvement of the theta and alpha band activity in the detection of the gaze of others when it shifts toward a referential target. We consider that the theta band modulation could be associated with the processing of unexpected events. Furthermore, the increase of the alpha band activity during the Congruent object-gaze condition seems to be in agreement with prior findings on the mechanisms of internally controlled attention that emerge before the first year of life. The implementation of a live paradigm elicited a partially different oscillatory pattern in comparison with non-live standard paradigms, supporting the importance of an ecological set-up reproducing real-life conditions to study the development of social cognition.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11564/796673
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