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Creators/Authors contains: "Kelsey, Caroline M."

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  1. Abstract

    Infancy is a sensitive period of development, during which experiences of parental care are particularly important for shaping the developing brain. In a longitudinal study of= 95 mothers and infants, we examined links between caregiving behavior (maternal sensitivity observed during a mother–infant free‐play) and infants’ neural response to emotion (happy, angry, and fearful faces) at 5 and 7 months of age. Neural activity was assessed using functional Near‐Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC), a region involved in cognitive control and emotion regulation. Maternal sensitivity was positively correlated with infants’ neural responses tohappyfaces in the bilateral dlPFC and was associated with relative increases in such responses from 5 to 7 months. Multilevel analyses revealed caregiving‐related individual differences in infants’ neural responses to happy compared to fearful faces in the bilateral dlPFC, as well as other brain regions. We suggest that variability in dlPFC responses to emotion in the developing brain may be one correlate of early experiences of caregiving, with implications for social‐emotional functioning and self‐regulation.

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  2. null (Ed.)
    Variability in functional brain network connectivity has been linked to individual differences in cognitive, affective, and behavioral traits in adults. However, little is known about the developmental origins of such brain-behavior correlations. The current study examined functional brain network connectivity and its link to behavioral temperament in typically developing newborn and 1-month-old infants ( M [age] = 25 days; N = 75) using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Specifically, we measured long-range connectivity between cortical regions approximating fronto-parietal, default mode, and homologous-interhemispheric networks. Our results show that connectivity in these functional brain networks varies across infants and maps onto individual differences in behavioral temperament. Specifically, connectivity in the fronto-parietal network was positively associated with regulation and orienting behaviors, whereas connectivity in the default mode network showed the opposite effect on these behaviors. Our analysis also revealed a significant positive association between the homologous-interhemispheric network and infants' negative affect. The current results suggest that variability in long-range intra-hemispheric and cross-hemispheric functional connectivity between frontal, parietal, and temporal cortex is associated with individual differences in affect and behavior. These findings shed new light on the brain origins of individual differences in early-emerging behavioral traits and thus represent a viable novel approach for investigating developmental trajectories in typical and atypical neurodevelopment. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
  4. Abstract

    Sensitive responding to eye cues plays a key role in human social interactions. Pupil size provides subtle cues regarding a social interaction partner's arousal states. The current study assessed infants’ sensitivity to and preference for differences in pupil size. Specifically, we examined White 14‐month‐old infants’ pupillary responses when viewing own‐race and other‐race (Asian) eyes with dilating, constricting, and static medium‐sized pupils. Our results show that, independent of race, infants’ pupils dilated more when viewing eyes with dynamically changing (dilating and constricting) pupils than when viewing eyes with non‐changing, static, and medium‐sized pupils. We also measured infants’ looking preferences, showing that, independent of race, infants preferentially attended to eyes with dilated pupils. Moreover, our results show that infants orient more quickly to pupillary changes in own‐race eyes than in other‐race eyes. These findings demonstrate that infants detect, but do not mimic, changes in pupil size in others and show a preference for eyes with dilated pupils.

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