Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception Institut Neurosciences Cognition Université Paris Descartes Centre National de Recherche Scientifique
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Neural correlates of woman face processing by 2-month-old infants

The age of 2 months marks a turn in the development of face processing in humans with the emergence of recognition based on internal feature configuration. We studied the neural bases of this early cognitive expertise, critical for adaptive behavior in the social world, by mapping with positron emission tomography the brain activity of 2-month-old alert infants while looking at unknown woman faces. We observed the activation of a distributed network of cortical areas that largely overlapped the adult face-processing network, including the so-called fusiform face area. We also evidenced the activation of left superior temporal and inferior frontal gyri, regions associated, in adults, with language processing. These findings demonstrates that cognitive development proceeds early in functionally active interconnected cortical areas despite the fact they have not all yet reached full metabolic maturation.



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