December 2022
Volume 22, Issue 14
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   December 2022
Alpha Desynchronization to Faces and Objects Across the First Year of Life
Author Affiliations
  • Mina Elhamiasl
    University of Florida
  • Jessica Figueira
    University of Florida
  • Ryan Barry-Anwar
    University of Florida
  • Zoe Pestana
    UC Davis
  • Andreas Keil
    University of Florida
  • Lisa S. Scott
    University of Florida
Journal of Vision December 2022, Vol.22, 4077. doi:
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      Mina Elhamiasl, Jessica Figueira, Ryan Barry-Anwar, Zoe Pestana, Andreas Keil, Lisa S. Scott; Alpha Desynchronization to Faces and Objects Across the First Year of Life. Journal of Vision 2022;22(14):4077.

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

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In infants, the posterior alpha EEG rhythm (6-9 Hz) has been found to index visual attention (Michel et al., 2015; Xie et al., 2018). Typically, during attention allocation to external stimuli, alpha attenuates, or desynchronizes, over occipital regions. The extent to which posterior infant alpha is modulated by learning across the first year of life is not well understood. Learning was predicted to increase posterior alpha desynchronization across ages. Six-month-old (n=26), 9-month-old (n=23), and 12-month-old (n=19) infants completed a short label learning session in which a group of novel computer-generated stimuli were verbally labeled with several individual names (“Boris”, “Jamie”, etc) while the other group of stimuli was labeled with a single category label (“Hitchel”). Before and after learning, occipital EEG was recorded while novel exemplars from both groups of objects, as well as untrained objects and faces, floated down the middle of the computer monitor, one at a time for 10 seconds each. Results showed significant occipital alpha desynchronization for 9- and 12-month-old infants relative to 6-month-old infants (ps<0.001) and response to faces relative to objects (ps<0.01). These results suggest that occipital alpha desynchronization in response to faces and objects begins between 6 to 9 months of age and may be more sensitive to faces compared to objects. These findings are in line with the timing of infant visual perceptual narrowing.


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