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Child Dev. 2005 Jan-Feb;76(1):54-72.

The impact of early institutional rearing on the ability to discriminate facial expressions of emotion: an event-related potential study.

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  • 1University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


Event-related potentials (ERPs), in response to 4 facial expressions of fear, angry, happy, and sad, were collected from 72 institutionalized children (IG), ages 7 to 32 months, in Bucharest, Romania, and compared with ERPs from 33 children, ages 8 to 32 months, who had never been institutionalized (NIG). The NIG and IG exhibited different patterns of responding in early latency components. Moreover, group differences in amplitude were evident across all components. Such differences may point to the role of early deprivation in disrupting the development of the neural circuitry involved in the recognition of facial expressions.

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