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How social is the chaser?: Neural correlates of chasing perception in 9-month-old infants
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2016 (English)In: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, ISSN 1878-9293, E-ISSN 1878-9307, Vol. 19, 270-278 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Resource type
Text
Abstract [en]

We investigated the neural correlates of chasing perception in infancy to determine whether animated interactions are processed as social events. By using EEG and an ERP design with animations of simple geometric shapes, we examined whether the positive posterior (P400) component, previously found in response to social stimuli, as well as the attention related negative fronto-central component (Nc), differs when infants observed a chaser versus a non-chaser. In Study 1, the chaser was compared to an inanimate object. In Study 2, the chaser was compared to an animate but not chasing agent (randomly moving agent). Results demonstrate no difference in the Nc component, but statistically higher P400 amplitude when the chasing agent was compared to either an inanimate object or a random object. We also find a difference in the N290 component in both studies and in the P200 component in Study 2, when the chasing agent is compared to the randomly moving agent. The present studies demonstrate for the first time that infants' process correlated motion such as chasing as a social interaction. The perception of the chasing agent elicits stronger time-locked responses, denoting a link between motion perception and social cognition.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 19, 270-278 p.
Keyword [en]
P400, Animacy perception, Chasing
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-299733DOI: 10.1016/j.dcn.2016.05.0051878ISI: 000378032000027PubMedID: 27258722OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-299733DiVA: diva2:949984
Funder
Swedish Research Council, VR-2011-1528EU, European Research Council, 312292
Available from: 2016-07-26 Created: 2016-07-26 Last updated: 2017-11-28Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Social causality in motion: Visual bias and categorization of social interactions during the observation of chasing in infancy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Social causality in motion: Visual bias and categorization of social interactions during the observation of chasing in infancy
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic) [Artistic work]
Abstract [en]

Since the seminal work of Fritz Heider and Marienne Simmel (1944) the study of animacy perception, or the perception and attribution of life from the motion of simple geometrical shapes has intrigued researchers. The intrigue for psychologists and vision scientists then and today centered on the stark disconnect between the simplicity of the visual input and the universal richness of the resulting percept.

Infant research in this domain has become critical in examining the ontological processes behind the formation of animated percepts. To date, little is known about how infants process these kinds of stimuli. While numerous habituation studies have shown sensitivity to animate motion in general, none to date has examined whether infants actually perceive animate displays as social interactions.

The overarching goal of the present thesis is to answer this question and further augment knowledge about the mechanisms behind the formation of animated percepts in infancy. I, along with my collaborators, do so in three ways, in three separate studies. First, we examined visual attention during online observation of randomly moving geometrical shapes in adults and infants (Study I, using eye tracking). Second, we examine distribution of visual attention in infancy during online observation of non-contact causal interactions, focusing on the most ubiquitous, fitness relevant of interactions – chasing (Study II, using eye tracking). Third, we answer the question whether infants perceive social content in chasing displays by measuring the neural correlates in response to chasing (Study III, using EEG).

The collective contribution of the present work is also three fold. First, it demonstrates that starting at the end of the first year of life, human visual system is sensitive to cues that efficiently predict an interaction. Second, at 5-months infants begins allocating attention differently across agents within interactions. Finally, attention to specific objects is not due to low-level saliency but the social nature of the interaction. Subsequently, I present the case that perception of social agents is fast, direct, and reflects the workings of a specialized learning mechanisms whose function is the detection of heat-seeking animates in motion. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2017. 101 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 144
Keyword
social causality, motion, animacy perception, chasing goal-directed motion, heat-seeking, EEG; P400, Nc, spatial proximity, non-contact causality, functional specialization, specialized perception, evolution
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-321904 (URN)978-91-554-9943-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-08-31, Auditorium Minus, Gustavianum, Akademigatan 3, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-06-07 Created: 2017-05-12 Last updated: 2017-09-20

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