Brain system involved in social behavior • Limbic system • Amygdala • Memory areas • Hypothalamus • Anterior cingulate • Ventral prefrontal cortex • Areas specific to different tasks and behaviors • Face areas
Face Recognition • Are faces special? • What brain systems are involved in processing faces? • Is experience important for face processing?
1. Faces are special • Infants respond to faces as though they are special • Prefer to look at faces and stimuli that are like faces • Case study of child with damage to fusiform face area
2. Brain systems for faces changes from early to later infancy • Nature of face recognition must be considered in light of the tasks used to measure it. • Face preference declines and then returns • Early in development, responses to faces is subserved by subcortical mechanisms • With development, cortical mechanisms take over for subcortical ones
How are faces processed? • Adults process the face as a whole, configuratively • Inversion effect • We process faces better if they’re upright than if they’re upside down • This effect is slow to emerge in children, but it might depend on how you measure it • This processing is dominated by the right hemisphere in the brain
There is some controversy over whether/when children use configural strategies when processing faces • More traditional methods of measuring configural processing don’t show a shift from featural to configural processing until over 5 years of age
Brain system for faces • Amygdala • Visual system/ventral stream • Fusiform face area • Possibly other areas • Areas related to social responses
Expertise view • Activity in the fusiform face area is observed in face processing • Activity in the same area is observed when experts view stimuli in areas at which they are experts. • Do infants become “experts” at processing faces?
Studies of face processing • Recognition of the mother’s face • Newborn infants attend more to their mother’s face in a very short period of time • 6-month-olds’ ERPs to mother’s face are different than to a stranger’s face • Increased amplitude of the Nc component to mother’s face • Implies that 6-month-olds attend preferentially to mother’s face.
Development in face processing • 4-year-olds also respond differentially to mother’s face and a stranger’s face • However, their responses are larger to strangers than to mother • By 4 years of age, children attend preferentially to strangers • The change is due to age-related differences in response to mother’s face
Face specific ERP activity • N170 component is specific to faces and occurs over right hemisphere • Precursors to this component are observed in infants as young as 6 months of age. • This component is abnormal in people with autism
Face recognition in autism • Children with autism fail to respond differently to mother’s face and a stranger’s face • Children with autism do respond differentially to familiar and unfamiliar objects • Possible explanations? • There is something wrong with a “face module” in their brain • They do not attend to faces, so they never develop cortical control of face processing • They do not attend to faces, so they don’t become experts in faces
Emotion recognition • Probably involves amygdala as well as face recognition areas • There is some evidence that experience has an effect
Role of experience in emotion recognition • Infants respond differently (ERP, looking time) to positive than to negative expressions • Progression of responses • First infants differentiate positive from negative, then differentiate within negative between fear, anger, etc. • Older children are still developing expression recognition: 9- and 10-year-olds treat neutral like fear
Children who have been abused have category boundaries that are closer to the negative end of the continuum, especially for anger
Exam 2 • 100 % (average of 2 high scores) = 95.75 • 90% (A cutoff) = 86.18 • 80% (B) = 76.6 • 70% (C) = 67.03 • 60% (D) = 57.45
Emotion regulation • Normal pattern of emotion regulation-EEG • Positive emotions – more left lateralized • Negative emotions – more right lateralized • This pattern is not seen in adults with depression • These EEG patterns can be elicited in children • Looking at expressions, stories, play, separation • Children whose mothers are depressed have brain patterns like depressed adults • This effect may be moderated by the attachment relationship
Social Cognition • How children understand others • Social Referencing • Joint Attention • Theory of mind
Theories about brain systems • Connections between amygdala and Ventral prefrontal cortex • Experience with positive feedback leads to repeating positive behavior, increased sharing of attention (Ventral PFC) • Probably not that simple • Dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex, including motor planning areas and frontal eye fields are activated in initiating joint attention and in Theory of Mind
Relationships • Attachment • Developments in response to mother’s face and stranger’s face might be related to attachment stage • Strange situation elicits increased heart rate, right lateralized EEG, increased cortisol • Cortisol effects may vary by attachment, results are mixed, and this may only apply to disorganized attachment, or differences between avoidant and disorganized children
Attachment (cont.) • Studies of monkeys separated from caregiver • Changes in norepinephrine • Effects on behavior • Clinging • Lack of normal relationship development • May have impact on structure or function in amygdala, hippocampus
Peer relationships? • ???????????
Other aspects of social behavior? • ???????????