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Hillary Hadley, Charisse B. Pickron, Lisa S. Scott; Early Learning in Infancy Influences Children's Face Processing Several Years Later. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):562. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/14.10.562.
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The ability to differentiate between exemplars from an uncommonly experienced face group declines from 6 to 9 months of age. This decline in discrimination is absent if between 6 and 9 months infants receive training with individually labeled faces. Individual-level labels can also facilitate discrimination after infants are trained with non-face objects (strollers). Moreover, learning objects and faces at different levels during infancy changes the way the brain responds to the categories of trained stimuli. However, it is currently unclear whether this training is sufficient to create lasting behavioral or neural changes. For the present investigation, 4- to 5-year-old children trained as infants with monkey faces (n=23), strollers (n=20) and a control group (n=35) completed a behavioral discrimination task as well as an inversion task while for human faces, monkey faces and strollers while Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) were recorded. Although children did not exhibit long lasting behavioral or neural effects for the trained stimuli (monkeys or strollers) there were significant group differences in their responses to human faces. Behaviorally, children who were trained at the individual-level (regardless of training stimulus) exhibited significantly faster reaction times to human faces relative to category-level training and the no-training control group. In addition, children who were trained with individually labeled monkey faces as infants exhibited an adult-like N170 inversion effect such that there was a greater N170 to inverted relative to upright human faces. Children in all other groups showed the opposite N170 pattern. These results suggest that training at the individual level with monkey faces and strollers in infancy influences response time for human faces in childhood. However, training with monkey faces but not strollers influences neural responses to human faces in childhood. This dissociation between behavior and brain is discussed in relation to the development of face and object processing and expertise.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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