It is well established that, from an early age, human infants interpret the movements of others as actions directed towards goals. However, the cognitive and neural mechanisms which underlie this ability are hotly debated. The current study was designed to identify brain regions involved in the representation of others' goals early in development. Studies with adults have demonstrated that the anterior intraparietal sulcus (aIPS) exhibits repetition suppression for repeated goals and a release from suppression for new goals, implicating this specific region in goal representation in adults. In the current study, we used a modified paired repetition suppression design with 9-month-old infants to identify which cortical regions are suppressed when the infant observes a repeated goal versus a new goal. We find a strikingly similar response pattern and location of activity as had been reported in adults; the only brain region displaying significant repetition suppression for repeated goals and a release from suppression for new goals was the left anterior parietal region. Not only does our data suggest that the left anterior parietal region is specialized for representing the goals of others' actions from early in life, this demonstration presents an opportunity to use this method and design to elucidate the debate over the mechanisms and cues which contribute to early action understanding.

Goal representation in the infant brain

DI GANGI, VALENTINA;
2013

Abstract

It is well established that, from an early age, human infants interpret the movements of others as actions directed towards goals. However, the cognitive and neural mechanisms which underlie this ability are hotly debated. The current study was designed to identify brain regions involved in the representation of others' goals early in development. Studies with adults have demonstrated that the anterior intraparietal sulcus (aIPS) exhibits repetition suppression for repeated goals and a release from suppression for new goals, implicating this specific region in goal representation in adults. In the current study, we used a modified paired repetition suppression design with 9-month-old infants to identify which cortical regions are suppressed when the infant observes a repeated goal versus a new goal. We find a strikingly similar response pattern and location of activity as had been reported in adults; the only brain region displaying significant repetition suppression for repeated goals and a release from suppression for new goals was the left anterior parietal region. Not only does our data suggest that the left anterior parietal region is specialized for representing the goals of others' actions from early in life, this demonstration presents an opportunity to use this method and design to elucidate the debate over the mechanisms and cues which contribute to early action understanding.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/2683640
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