September 2018
Volume 18, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2018
The Development of Social Interaction Perception in the Brain
Author Affiliations
  • Kami Koldewyn
    School of Psychology, Bangor University
  • Ioana Mihai
    School of Psychology, Bangor University
  • Jon Walbrin
    School of Psychology, Bangor University
Journal of Vision September 2018, Vol.18, 777. doi:
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      Kami Koldewyn, Ioana Mihai, Jon Walbrin; The Development of Social Interaction Perception in the Brain. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):777. doi:

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Recent evidence suggests that a region of the posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) may be selective for the perception of social interactions (Isik et al., 2017). The developmental trajectories of other selective social brain responses (i.e. functionally selective regions for the processing of faces, bodies, & theory of mind (ToM) information) have been relatively well-studied, yet little is known about how the perception of interactive behaviour develops from childhood into adulthood. We used fMRI to scan both children (5-12 years) and adults (18 – 35 years) as they viewed videos that allowed us to functionally localize and test responses to interactions in the pSTS. In addition, we used a handful of other localizer scans to identify other regions in the "social brain", including face, body, and ToM selective brain areas. We aimed to characterize how 'adult-like' functional response to perceived social interactions was in these localized regions as well as across the brain using a number of measures (e.g., the magnitude and extent of activation, the selectivity of the response, how well other social information responses predict interaction response). Our preliminary results (in 12 children and 19 adults) suggest that neural measures of interaction perception are not fully mature in children. In particular, the response in the pSTS is less selective in children than adults, and children show evidence of using a wider network of social brain regions than adults when viewing social interactions. These unique findings provide an important first step towards characterizing a developmental model for interaction perception in the brain. In future, these findings may serve as a starting place for better understanding how social brain development may be altered in neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by differences in social response (e.g. autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, Williams syndrome).

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018


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