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Using mu rhythm perturbations to measure mirror neuron activity in infants
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-97380OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-97380DiVA: diva2:172301
Available from: 2008-08-18 Created: 2008-08-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. From Motion to Movements: Revelations by the Infant EEG
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From Motion to Movements: Revelations by the Infant EEG
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The introduction of high density EEG (hd-EEG) nets for easy application on subjects of all ages has improved the possibilities to investigate the development of the infant neurophysiology. This dissertation consists of three studies (I – III) that investigate the visual motion system and mirror neuron system of the infant, and methodological sections that outline the bioelectrical background and the characteristics of the methods used.

Study I covers the maturation of cortical areas involved in motion perception in adults and infants using an ERP paradigm. Over three age groups (2, 3 and 5 month olds) the cortical activation increased dramatically. All infant groups showed significant activation when moving displays was contrasted to static displays on a video screen. The study shows that 5-month-old infants and older can be expected to process motion in a similar fashion as adults.

Study II covers the infant mirror neuron system (MNS). In adults the mu rhythm perturbations is considered a reliable measure of activation of the MNS. This study presented both a mu rhythm analysis and a ERP analysis to detect MNS activity in 6-month-olds and in adults. This study concludes that the infant MNS can be measured using ERPs and that the development of mu rhythm perturbations requires further study.

Study III focused on exploring the mu rhythm suppressions. 8-month-olds observed a live actor that performed goal directed reaches and non-goal directed hand movements. The results show robust mu rhythm perturbations time-locked to the grasping moment. The study concluded that the MNS activity is possible to evaluate by analysis of mu rhythm perturbations and that the MNS show mature characteristics at the age of 8 months.

In summary, Study 2 and 3 present new methods to investigate the infant mirror neuron system and shows that the infant MNS is active at 6 months of age. At 8 months of age the infant MNS show mature EEG responses to simple actions such as reaching. How the MNS development relates to the infants’ motor development, and how the MNS interacts with the development of social skills requires further studies that could benefit from the methods presented here.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2008. 87 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 41
Psychology, infant, brain, EEG, mirror neurons, ERP, ICA, MNS, Psykologi
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-9067 (URN)978-91-554-7243-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-09-08, Sal IV, Universitetshuset, Övre Slottsgatan 2, Uppsala, 13:15
Available from: 2008-08-18 Created: 2008-08-18Bibliographically approved

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