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Social Development
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  1. Social Development

  2. 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

  3. Amygdala and hippocampus

  4. Fornix

  5. Thalamus and hypothalamus

  6. Anterior Cingulate

  7. Prefrontal Cortex

  8. Face Recognition • Are faces special? • What brain systems are involved in processing faces? • Is experience important for face processing?

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Brain system for faces • Amygdala • Visual system/ventral stream • Fusiform face area • Possibly other areas • Areas related to social responses

  14. 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?

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Autism data

  20. Emotion recognition • Probably involves amygdala as well as face recognition areas • There is some evidence that experience has an effect

  21. 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

  22. Categorical perception of emotion

  23. Children who have been abused have category boundaries that are closer to the negative end of the continuum, especially for anger

  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. Social Cognition • How children understand others • Social Referencing • Joint Attention • Theory of mind

  27. 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

  28. 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

  29. 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

  30. Peer relationships? • ???????????

  31. Other aspects of social behavior? • ???????????