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    Real-time monitoring of infant theta power during naturalistic social experiences

    Throm, Elena and Gui, Anna and Haartsen, Rianne and da Costa, P.F. and Leech, R. and Jones, Emily J.H. (2023) Real-time monitoring of infant theta power during naturalistic social experiences. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience 63 (101300), ISSN 1878-9293.

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    Infant-directed speech and direct gaze are important social cues that shape infant’s attention to their parents. Traditional methods for probing their effect on infant attention involve a small number of pre-selected screen- based stimuli, which do not capture the complexity of real-world interactions. Here, we used neuroadaptive Bayesian Optimization (NBO) to search a large ‘space’ of different naturalistic social experiences that system- atically varied in their visual (gaze direct to averted) and auditory properties (infant directed speech to nonvocal sounds). We measured oscillatory brain responses (relative theta power) during episodes of naturalistic social experiences in 57 typically developing 6- to 12-month-old infants. Relative theta power was used as input to the NBO algorithm to identify the naturalistic social context that maximally elicited attention in each individual infant. Results showed that individual infants were heterogeneous in the stimulus that elicited maximal theta with no overall stronger attention for direct gaze or infant-directed speech; however, individual differences in attention towards averted gaze were related to interpersonal skills and greater likelihood of preferring speech and direct gaze was observed in infants whose parents showed more positive affect. Our work indicates NBO may be a fruitful method for probing the role of distinct social cues in eliciting attention in naturalistic social contexts at the individual level.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): EEG theta oscillation, Social attention, Individual differences, Real-time analysis, Infant, Naturalistic context
    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: Rianne Haartsen
    Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2024 06:19
    Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 11:13


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