December 16, 2010
Hemodynamic Responses To The Mother’s Face In Infants By Near-Infrared Spectroscopy
A Japanese research group led by Prof. Ryusuke Kakigi and Dr. Emi Nakato (National Institute for Physiological Sciences: NIPS) and Prof. Masami K Yamaguchi (Chuo University) found that there was the different hemodynamic response in the temporal cortex between infants' perceptions of their own mother and of female strangers. The presentation of mother's face elicited increased hemodynamic responses in the bilateral temporal cortex. This finding was reported in Early Human Development.
Recognition of the mother's face is important in the development of an infant's social communication. In this study, the research group investigated 7- and 8-month-old infants' brain activity during the perception of the mother's face and strangers' faces by near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). NIRS is a non-invasive technique which estimates cerebral blood flow in the human brain and can assess changes in the concentration of oxyhemoglobin (oxy-Hb), deoxyhemoglobin (deoxy-Hb), and total hemoglobin (total-Hb) as an index of neural activity.
The research group said, "Our findings imply that the probable presence of cortical specialization for the mother's face in infants may be firmly established by the age of 7 to 8 months. This is the first study to clarify the location of brain activity in infants related to the perception of their mother's face."
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