The Effect of Emotional Context on Changes in Infants' Neural Response to Novel
By Jacqueline S. Leventon
Around the end of the first year of life, infants develop a social referencing ability- using
the emotional information from others to guide their own behavior. Much research on
social referencing has focused on changes in behavior in response to emotional
information. The present study was an investigation of the changes in neural responses
that underlie social referencing behavior, reflected in event-related potential measures
(ERPs). Twenty-six 12-month-olds participated in a single-session visit where ERPs were
recorded both immediately before and after a behavioral intervention in which infants'
caregivers provided positive, negative or neutral information about each of 3 test stimuli.
Results indicated that infants devoted more neural resources to processing emotional
versus neutral information, as observed in a late positive-going component. Changes in
neural responses from the pre- to post-intervention recordings clarify this observation,
indicating that there was an increase in neural response in processing negative
information, a decrease in processing neutral information, and relatively no change in
processing positive information. Taken together, these findings suggest that infants'
neural responses are differentially affected by positive, negative and neutral information.
Furthermore, the findings highlight the importance of measuring the change in neural
responses to better interpret post-experience responses.
The Effect of Emotional Context on Changes in Infants' Neural
Response to Novel
Jacqueline S. Leventon
B.S., University of Maryland, 2008
Advisor: Patricia J. Bauer, Ph.D.
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the
James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies of Emory University
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
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About this Master's Thesis
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|File download under embargo until 30 June 2022||2018-08-28||File download under embargo until 30 June 2022|