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Auditory event-related potentials in waking infants and adults: a developmental perspective.


Auditory event-related potentials (AERPs) were recorded in waking 1 month olds, 3 month olds, 6 month olds and adults in order to study the morphology and development of the wave form in the waking subject. Previous data were generally obtained in sleeping or drowsy infants. The findings indicated that there were 3 quantitative changes in the AERP over the first 6 months of life in waking infants: an increase in the latency of peaks, an increase in peak amplitude, and a decrease in intersubject variability. Adult peak latencies were generally shorter than those for 3 month olds and 6 month olds. Further, latencies of earlier AERP peaks for 1 and 6 month olds, in the present study, were comparable to those reported in previous investigations with sleeping infants. However, latencies of later AERP peaks differed from those of previous reports and were closer to those reported for waking adults. With respect to the amplitude, the 6 month olds, in general, had the highest amplitudes, the 1 month olds the lowest, and the 3 month olds and adults fell in between the two groups. Some differences were present between early and late components. The findings of this study are significant in that the AERPs were quantitatively different from those reported in earlier work with sleeping or drowsy infants. If cognitive and perceptual development is to be studied, it is necessary to obtain data on waking subjects. The data presented in this report are consistent with behavioral studies of biobehavioral shifts that are associated with changes in responsivity of the organism to stimuli during the first 6 months of life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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