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Event-related potentials of 4-7-week-old infants in a visual recognition memory task.

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Institute for Life Span Studies, Parsons Research Center, University of Kansas 67357, USA.


Event-related brain potentials were recorded from 4-7-week-old infants viewing a visual oddball task. During the task the duration of the infant's visual fixations of the stimuli was recorded. The latency of a frontally predominant negative component (Nc) and magnitude of an early slow wave (NSW) changed as a function of stimulus experience, thereby indicating a sensitivity to the infant's attention, stimulus discrimination and, perhaps, recognition memory. Nc latencies were faster and NSW magnitude was larger to the oddball stimulus than to the frequent stimulus. In addition, the latency of a component over occipital scalp. (N378) was faster to the oddball stimulus and may reflect the first perceptual registration of stimulus change. The latencies of the components allow an analysis of the infant's chronometry of processing. Analysis of looking behavior indicated that the infants also gave longer oddball looks than frequent looks. The relation of the ERP data to the infant's looking behavior suggests that fixation duration and the ERP components can be used as complementary measures of different aspects of the infant's attentional-cognitive processes.

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