Humans are endowed with an exceptional ability for detecting faces, a competence that, in adults, is supported by a set of face-specific cortical patches. Human newborns, already shortly after birth, preferentially orient to faces, even when they are presented in the form of highly schematic geometrical patterns vs. perceptually equivalent nonfacelike stimuli. The neural substrates underlying this early preference are still largely unexplored. Is the adult face-specific cortical circuit already active at birth, or does its specialization develop slowly as a function of experience and/or maturation? We measured EEG responses in 1- to 4-day-old awake, attentive human newborns to schematic facelike patterns and nonfacelike control stimuli, visually presented with slow oscillatory "peekaboo" dynamics (0.8 Hz) in a frequency-tagging design. Despite the limited duration of newborns' attention, reliable frequency-tagged responses could be estimated for each stimulus from the peak of the EEG power spectrum at the stimulation frequency. Upright facelike stimuli elicited a significantly stronger frequency-tagged response than inverted facelike controls in a large set of electrodes. Source reconstruction of the underlying cortical activity revealed the recruitment of a partially right-lateralized network comprising lateral occipitotemporal and medial parietal areas overlapping with the adult face-processing circuit. This result suggests that the cortical route specialized in face processing is already functional at birth.

Cortical route for facelike pattern processing in human newborns / Buiatti, Marco; Di Giorgio, Elisa; Piazza, Manuela; Polloni, Carlo; Menna, Giuseppe; Taddei, Fabrizio; Baldo, Ermanno; Vallortigara, Giorgio. - In: PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. - ISSN 0027-8424. - STAMPA. - 116:10(2019), pp. 4625-4630. [10.1073/pnas.1812419116]

Cortical route for facelike pattern processing in human newborns

Buiatti, Marco;Di Giorgio, Elisa;Piazza, Manuela;Vallortigara, Giorgio
2019-01-01

Abstract

Humans are endowed with an exceptional ability for detecting faces, a competence that, in adults, is supported by a set of face-specific cortical patches. Human newborns, already shortly after birth, preferentially orient to faces, even when they are presented in the form of highly schematic geometrical patterns vs. perceptually equivalent nonfacelike stimuli. The neural substrates underlying this early preference are still largely unexplored. Is the adult face-specific cortical circuit already active at birth, or does its specialization develop slowly as a function of experience and/or maturation? We measured EEG responses in 1- to 4-day-old awake, attentive human newborns to schematic facelike patterns and nonfacelike control stimuli, visually presented with slow oscillatory "peekaboo" dynamics (0.8 Hz) in a frequency-tagging design. Despite the limited duration of newborns' attention, reliable frequency-tagged responses could be estimated for each stimulus from the peak of the EEG power spectrum at the stimulation frequency. Upright facelike stimuli elicited a significantly stronger frequency-tagged response than inverted facelike controls in a large set of electrodes. Source reconstruction of the underlying cortical activity revealed the recruitment of a partially right-lateralized network comprising lateral occipitotemporal and medial parietal areas overlapping with the adult face-processing circuit. This result suggests that the cortical route specialized in face processing is already functional at birth.
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Buiatti, Marco; Di Giorgio, Elisa; Piazza, Manuela; Polloni, Carlo; Menna, Giuseppe; Taddei, Fabrizio; Baldo, Ermanno; Vallortigara, Giorgio
Cortical route for facelike pattern processing in human newborns / Buiatti, Marco; Di Giorgio, Elisa; Piazza, Manuela; Polloni, Carlo; Menna, Giuseppe; Taddei, Fabrizio; Baldo, Ermanno; Vallortigara, Giorgio. - In: PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. - ISSN 0027-8424. - STAMPA. - 116:10(2019), pp. 4625-4630. [10.1073/pnas.1812419116]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/230182
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