Cortical signatures of visual body representation develop in human infancy

Yang, Jiale; Kanazawa, So; Yamaguchi, Masami; Bhattacharya, Joydeep and Bremner, Andrew J.. 2023. Cortical signatures of visual body representation develop in human infancy. Scientific Reports, 13, 14696. ISSN 2045-2322 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Human infants cannot report their experiences, limiting what we can learn about their bodily awareness. However, visual cortical responses to the body, linked to visual awareness and selective attention in adults, can be easily measured in infants and provide a promising marker of bodily awareness in early life. We presented 4- and 8-month-old infants with a flickering (7.5 Hz) video of a hand being stroked and recorded steady-state visually evoked potentials (SSVEPs). In half of the trials, the infants also received tactile stroking synchronously with visual stroking. The 8-month-old, but not the 4-month-old infants, showed a significant enhancement of SSVEP responses when they received tactile stimulation concurrent with the visually observed stroking. Follow-up experiments showed that this enhancement did not occur when the visual hand was presented in an incompatible posture with the infant’s own body or when the visual stimulus was a body-irrelevant video. Our findings provide a novel insight into the development of bodily self-awareness in the first year of life.

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The data sets from the current study are freely available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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28 August 2023Accepted
7 September 2023Published

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Date Deposited:

06 Sep 2023 10:13

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14 Nov 2023 09:27

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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