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Elegant design...underscores importance of early time-points

Posted by childress_a on 01 Mar 2008 at 17:00 GMT

This study features an elegant design that controls for the effects of familiarity in earlier imaging studies of infant faces. It yields good evidence on a long-discussed topic: there is, indeed, something special (rewarding, in the medial-OFC sense of the word) about infant faces, even when they are not one’s own children, for many adult humans.

How this rapid, primal response varies in the context of other adult human problems (e.g., post-partum depression, addictions, anti-social personality disorder) is now opened for investigation.

The study also underscores the importance of very early time-points in the brain response to probe stimuli. The observed early difference between the brain responses to infant vs. adult faces in the current study would not have been detected with early imaging technologies. The results are thus a strong ‘advertisement’ for the exquisite temporal sensitivity of MEG!

Anna Rose Childress, Ph.D.
Brain-Behavioral Vulnerabilities Division
Penn-VA Addiction Treatment Research Center
Department of Psychiatry
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Philadelphia, PA. 19104-6178