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Guy, M., Zieber, N, & Richards, J.E. (2016). The cortical sources of face sensitive ERP components in infancy. Poster presented at the International Conference on Infant Studies, New Orleans, LA, May, 2016.(pdf )

The aim of the current study was to examine the neural development of face processing in infancy by recording event-related potentials (ERPs) and to determine the cortical sources of these neural signals. Developmental changes in the amplitude and latency of infant ERP components (i.e., N290, P400, Nc) were examined in response to faces and toys at 4.5, 6, and 7.5 months of age. ERP responses were greater in amplitude during heart rate (HR)-defined phases of attention than inattention at all components examined. The N290 was greater in amplitude to faces during attention than toys during attention. The P400 was greater in amplitude to toys than faces. The neural regions responsible for the ERP components’ activation were investigated through the application of current density reconstruction (CDR), realistic head models derived from individual infant MRIs, and age-appropriate infant head templates. Source analyses were restricted to specific cortical regions of interest (ROIs) theoretically expected to be sensitive to faces. The linear trend to both faces and toys during the time window of the N290 likely reflects the emerging P400 and Nc activity occurring after the N290 latency, whereas the quadratic trend to faces in the older participants reflects the cortical source of the N290 deflection in the ERP. Results indicate that brain areas associated with face specific processing show greater activation with age. The results of this study are included in the manuscript, “The cortical development of specialized face processing in infancy,” currently in press in Child Development. Additionally, the data are included in a broad analysis of the development of face processing across the first year of life