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Percept Mot Skills. 2008 Feb;106(1):3-20.

Stimulus novelty and cognitive-related ERP components of the infant brain.

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Department of Psychology, Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, IL 60129, USA.


This study recorded visual fixation performance and event-related brain potentials (ERPs) to examine processing of novel visual information in 6- to 7-mo.-old infants as well as to test attention- or memory-related hypotheses of the functional significance of the Nc-ERP component. Separate groups of infants were presented two versions of a novelty-probe task with three types of visual stimuli: (a) a frequent face on 70% of the trials, (b) an oddball face on 15% of the trials, and (c) novel probe stimuli on the remaining 15% of the trials. The novelty probes were faces in one group and irregular shapes in the second group. Analysis showed longer fixations and Nc responses of greater amplitude occurred to oddball and novel stimuli. It was concluded that Nc reflects a top-down, controlled processing mechanism that flexibly allocates attentional resources.

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