BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    The neural correlates of orienting to walking direction in 6-month-old infants: an ERP study

    Lunghi, M. and Piccardi, Elena Serena and Richards, J.E. and Simion, F. (2019) The neural correlates of orienting to walking direction in 6-month-old infants: an ERP study. Developmental Science 22 (6), e12811. ISSN 1363-755x.

    desc.12811.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript

    Download (767kB) | Preview


    The ability to detect social signals represents a first step to enter our social world. Behavioral evidence has demonstrated that 6‐month‐old infants are able to orient their attention toward the position indicated by walking direction, showing faster orienting responses toward stimuli cued by the direction of motion than toward uncued stimuli. The present study investigated the neural mechanisms underpinning this attentional priming effect by using a spatial cueing paradigm and recording EEG (Geodesic System 128 channels) from 6‐month‐old infants. Infants were presented with a central point‐light walker followed by a single peripheral target. The target appeared randomly at a position either congruent or incongruent with the walking direction of the cue. We examined infants' target‐locked event‐related potential (ERP) responses and we used cortical source analysis to explore which brain regions gave rise to the ERP responses. The P1 component and saccade latencies toward the peripheral target were modulated by the congruency between the walking direction of the cue and the position of the target. Infants' saccade latencies were faster in response to targets appearing at congruent spatial locations. The P1 component was larger in response to congruent than to incongruent targets and a similar congruency effect was found with cortical source analysis in the parahippocampal gyrus and the anterior fusiform gyrus. Overall, these findings suggest that a type of biological motion like the one of a vertebrate walking on the legs can trigger covert orienting of attention in 6‐month‐old infants, enabling enhancement of neural activity related to visual processing of potentially relevant information as well as a facilitation of oculomotor responses to stimuli appearing at the attended location.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the article, which has been published in final form at the link above. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): biological motion, cortical source analysis, ERPs, social stimuli, visuospatial orienting
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Elena Piccardi
    Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2019 13:25
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:48


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item