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    Using multi-modal neuroimaging to characterise social brain specialisation in infants

    Siddiqui, Maheen F. and Pinti, Paola and Brigadoi, S. and Lloyd-Fox, Sarah and Elwell, Clare and Johnson, Mark H. and Tachtsidis, I. and Jones, Emily J.H. (2023) Using multi-modal neuroimaging to characterise social brain specialisation in infants. eLife 12 (e84122), ISSN 2050-084X.

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    The specialised regional functionality of the mature human cortex partly emerges through experience-dependent specialisation during early development. Our existing understanding of functional specialisation in the infant brain is based on evidence from unitary imaging modalities and has thus focused on isolated estimates of spatial or temporal selectivity of neural or haemodynamic activation, giving an incomplete picture. We speculate that functional specialisation will be underpinned by better coordinated haemodynamic and metabolic changes in a broadly orchestrated physiological response. To enable researchers to track this process through development, we develop new tools that allow the simultaneous measurement of coordinated neural activity (EEG), metabolic rate and oxygenated blood supply (broadband near-infrared spectroscopy) in the awake infant. In 4-to-7-month-old infants, we use these new tools to show that social processing is accompanied by spatially and temporally specific increases in coupled activation in the temporal-parietal junction, a core hub region of the adult social brain. During non-social processing coupled activation decreased in the same region, indicating specificity to social processing. Coupling was strongest with high frequency brain activity (beta and gamma), consistent with the greater energetic requirements and more localised action of high frequency brain activity. The development of simultaneous multi-modal neural measures will enable future researchers to open new vistas in understanding functional specialisation of the brain.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): fNIRS, EEG, neuroimaging, neurodevelopment, energy metabolism, neurovascular coupling, social development
    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: Maheen Siddiqui
    Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2023 15:00
    Last Modified: 12 Oct 2023 16:00


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