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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  2. 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 investigatingmore »developmental trajectories in typical and atypical neurodevelopment.« less
  3. Abstract Forming an impression of another person is an essential aspect of human social cognition linked to medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) function in adults. The current study examined the neurodevelopmental origins of impression formation by testing the hypothesis that infants rely on processes localized in mPFC when forming impressions about individuals who appear friendly or threatening. Infants’ brain responses were measured using functional near-infrared spectroscopy while watching 4 different face identities displaying either smiles or frowns directed toward or away from them (N = 77). This was followed by a looking preference test for these face identities (now displaying a neutral expression) using eyetracking. Our results show that infants’ mPFC responses distinguish between smiling and frowning faces when directed at them and that these responses predicted their subsequent person preferences. This suggests that the mPFC is involved in impression formation in human infants, attesting to the early ontogenetic emergence of brain systems supporting person perception and adaptive behavior.