Publications of Reid, Vincent M

The neural correlates of infant and adult goal prediction: evidence for semantic processing systems

The sequential nature of action ensures that an individual can anticipate the conclusion of an observed action via the use of semantic rules. The semantic processing of language and action has been linked to the N400 component of the event-related potential (ERP). The authors developed an ERP paradigm in which infants and adults observed simple sequences of actions. In one condition the conclusion of the sequence was anticipated, whereas in the other condition the conclusion was not anticipated. Adults and infants at 9 months and 7 months were assessed via the same neural mechanisms-the N400 component and analysis of the theta frequency. Results indicated that adults and infants at 9 months produced N400-like responses when anticipating action conclusions. The infants at 7 months displayed no N400 component. Analysis of the theta frequency provided support for the relation between the N400 and semantic processing. This study suggests that infants at 9 months anticipate goals and use similar cognitive mechanisms to adults in this task. In addition, this result suggests that language processing may derive from understanding action in early development.

Looking at eye gaze processing and its neural correlates in infancy-implications for social development and autism spectrum disorder

The importance of eye gaze as a means of communication is indisputable. However, there is debate about whether there is a dedicated neural module, which functions as an eye gaze detector and when infants are able to use eye gaze cues in a referential way. The application of neuroscience methodologies to developmental psychology has provided new insights into early social cognitive development. This review integrates findings on the development of eye gaze processing with research on the neural mechanisms underlying infant and adult social cognition. This research shows how a cognitive neuroscience approach can improve our understanding of social development and autism spectrum disorder.

Direct eye contact influences the neural processing of objects in 5-month-old infants

Do 5-month-old infants show differences in processing objects as a function of a prior interaction with an adult? Using a live ERP paradigm we assessed this question utilizing a within-subjects design. Infants saw objects during two pretest phases with an adult experimenter. We recorded event-related potentials to the presentation of objects following the interactive pretest phases. Experimental conditions differed only in the nature of eye contact between the infant and the experimenter during the pretests. In one condition the experimenter engaged the infant with direct eye contact. In a second condition the experimenter looked only at the infant's chest. We found that the negative component, related to attentional processes, showed differences between experimental conditions in left fronto-central locations. These data show that 5-month-old infants allocate more attention to objects that have been previously seen during direct eye-contact interaction. In addition, these results clarify the functional nature of the negative component.