skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Simpson, Elizabeth A."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. We integrated data from a newborn hearing screening database and a preschool disability database to examine the relationship between newborn click evoked auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) and developmental disabilities. This sample included children with developmental delay (n = 2992), speech impairment (SI, n = 905), language impairment (n = 566), autism spectrum disorder (ASD, n = 370), and comparison children (n = 128,181). We compared the phase of the ABR waveform, a measure of sound processing latency, across groups. Children with SI and children with ASD had greater newborn ABR phase values than both the comparison group and the developmental delay group. Newborns later diagnosed with SI or ASD have slower neurological responses to auditory stimuli, suggesting sensory differences at birth.
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 22, 2023
  3. Humans demonstrate enhanced processing of human faces compared with animal faces, known as own-species bias. This bias is important for identifying people who may cause harm, as well as for recognizing friends and kin. However, growing evidence also indicates a more general face bias. Faces have high evolutionary importance beyond conspecific interactions, as they aid in detecting predators and prey. Few studies have explored the interaction of these biases together. In three experiments, we explored processing of human and animal faces, compared with each other and to nonface objects, which allowed us to examine both own-species and broader face biases. We used a dot-probe paradigm to examine human adults’ covert attentional biases for task-irrelevant human faces, animal faces, and objects. We replicated the own-species attentional bias for human faces relative to animal faces. We also found an attentional bias for animal faces relative to objects, consistent with the proposal that faces broadly receive privileged processing. Our findings suggest that humans may be attracted to a broad class of faces. Further, we found that while participants rapidly attended to human faces across all cue display durations, they attended to animal faces only when they had sufficient time to process them. Ourmore »findings reveal that the dot-probe paradigm is sensitive for capturing both own-species and more general face biases, and that each has a different attentional signature, possibly reflecting their unique but overlapping evolutionary importance.« less
  4. Previous studies report prolonged auditory brainstem response (ABR) in children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Despite its promise as a biomarker, it is unclear whether healthy newborns who later develop ASD also show ABR abnormalities. In the current study, we extracted ABR data on 139,154 newborns from their Universal Newborn Hearing Screening, including 321 newborns who were later diagnosed with ASD. We found that the ASD newborns had significant prolongations of their ABR phase and V‐negative latency compared with the non‐ASD newborns. Newborns in the ASD group also exhibited greater variance in their latencies compared to previous studies in older ASD samples, likely due in part to the low intensity of the ABR stimulus. These findings suggest that newborns display neurophysiological variation associated with ASD at birth. Future studies with higher‐intensity stimulus ABRs may allow more accurate predictions of ASD risk, which could augment the universal ABR test that currently screens millions of newborns worldwide.
  5. The present study explored behavioral norms for infant social attention in typically developing human and nonhuman primate infants. We examined the normative development of attention to dynamic social and nonsocial stimuli longitudinally in macaques (Macaca mulatta) at 1, 3, and 5 months of age (N = 75) and humans at 2, 4, 6, 8, and 13 months of age (N = 69) using eye tracking. All infants viewed concurrently played silent videos—one social video and one nonsocial video. Both macaque and human infants were faster to look to the social than the nonsocial stimulus, and both species grew faster to orient to the social stimulus with age. Further, macaque infants’ social attention increased linearly from 1 to 5 months. In contrast, human infants displayed a nonlinear pattern of social interest, with initially greater attention to the social stimulus, followed by a period of greater interest in the nonsocial stimulus, and then a rise in social interest from 6 to 13 months. Overall, human infants looked longer than macaque infants, suggesting humans have more sustained attention in the first year of life. These findings highlight potential species similarities and differences, and reflect a first step in establishing baseline patterns of earlymore »social attention development.« less
  6. We (Meltzoff et al., 2018) described how Oostenbroek et al.’s (2016) design likely dampened infant imitation. In their commentary, Oostenbroek et al. (2018) argue that our points are post hoc. It is important for readers to know that they are not. Our paper restated “best practices” described in published papers. Based on the literature, the design used by Oostenbroek et al. (2016) would be predicted to dampen infant imitation. First, Oostenbroek et al.’s (2016) test periods were too brief. The stimulus presentation for each type of gesture was too short to ensure that neonates saw the display. The response measurement period did not allow neonates sufficient time to organize a motor response. Meltzoff and Moore (1983a, 1994) introduced experimental procedures specifically designed to address these issues (also, Simpson, Murray, Paukner, & Ferrari, 2014). Oostenbroek et al. did not capitalize on these procedural advances. Second, Oostenbroek et al. allowed uncontrolled experimenter–infant interactions during the test session itself. Previous papers on imitation provided analyses of how uncontrolled interactions with the experimenter can introduce “noise” in experiments of facial imitation (Meltzoff & Moore, 1983b, 1994). Third, Oostenbroek et al. used suboptimal eliciting conditions. Neonates cannot support their own heads; in Oostenbroek et al.,more »infants’ heads were allowed to flop from side-to-side unsupported on the experimenter’s lap while the experimenter gestured with both hands. In addition, papers have listed techniques for maximizing visual attention (controlled lighting, homogeneous background) (Meltzoff & Moore, 1989, 1994). Oostenbroek et al. tested infants on a couch in the home. Despite a design that would blunt imitation, our reanalysis of Oostenbroek et al.’s data showed a response pattern that is consistent with the imitation of tongue protrusion (TP). In their commentary, Oostenbroek et al. (2018) now propose limiting analyses to a subset of their original controls. We reanalyzed their data accordingly. Again, the results support early imitation. Their cross-sectional data (Oostenbroek et al., 2016, Table S4) collapsed across age show significantly more infant TP in response to the TP demonstration than to the mean of the six dynamic face controls (mouth, happy, sad, mmm, ee, and click): t(104) = 4.62, p = 0.00001. The results are also significant using a narrower subset of stimuli (mouth, happy, and sad): t(104) = 3.20, p = 0.0018. These results rule out arousal, because the adult TP demonstration was significantly more effective in eliciting infant tongue protrusions than the category of dynamic face controls. Tongue protrusion matching is a robust phenomenon successfully elicited in more than two dozen studies (reviews: Meltzoff & Moore, 1997; Nagy, Pilling, Orvos, & Molnar, 2013; Simpson et al., 2014). There are more general lessons to be drawn. Psychology is experiencing what some call a “replication crisis.” Those who attempt to reproduce effects have scientific responsibilities, as do original authors. Both can help psychology become a more cumulative science. It is crucial for investigators to label whether or not a study is a direct replication attempt. If it is not a direct replication, procedural alterations and associated limitations should be discussed. It sows confusion to use procedures that are already predicted to dampen effects, without alerting readers. Psychology will be advanced by more stringent standards for reporting and evaluating studies aimed at reproducing published effects. Infant imitation is a fundamental skill prior to language and contributes to the development of social cognition. On this both Oostenbroek et al. and we agree.« less