Special Issue "Cognition in Infants"

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A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Scott A. Adler (Website)

Department of Psychology & Centre for Vision Research, York University, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Phone: +1-416-736-2100
Fax: Fax: +1-416-736-5814

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cognition in infancy represents the starting point for all cognition over the lifespan before it matures, coalesces, and changes. Understanding infant cognition and its development is therefore vital for forming a basic understanding of human cognition as a whole and for detailing the processes that go awry when cognition does not develop properly. Over the last four decades, huge advances have been made in our understanding of the beginnings of cognition. In large part, many of these advances have been due to the adoption of new methodologies, such as neurophysiological, eye-tracking, and more sensitive behavioral measures; these methodologies have opened our understanding of infant cognition ever further and have led to stronger connections to underlying brain functioning and development. As a result, our understanding of attentional, perceptual, memory, and higher-order cognitive development has increased by leaps and bounds. Each of these processes serves as a single component in infants’ cognition and only by investigating each of them will we gain a full picture of cognition in infancy and its relation to brain functioning. This Special Issue is intended to collect a selected number of articles that further our understanding of cognitive processes in infancy and their relation to underlying brain development, through the use of both behavioral and neurophysiological methodologies.

Prof. Dr. Scott A. Adler
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Brain Sciences is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 600 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

  • infancy
  • cognition
  • attention
  • perception
  • memory
  • brain development
  • behavioral methods
  • neurophysiological methods

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Early Word Recognition and Later Language Skills
Brain Sci. 2014, 4(4), 532-559; doi:10.3390/brainsci4040532
Received: 8 August 2014 / Revised: 10 September 2014 / Accepted: 8 October 2014 / Published: 24 October 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (944 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recent behavioral and electrophysiological evidence has highlighted the long-term importance for language skills of an early ability to recognize words in continuous speech. We here present further tests of this long-term link in the form of follow-up studies conducted with two (separate) [...] Read more.
Recent behavioral and electrophysiological evidence has highlighted the long-term importance for language skills of an early ability to recognize words in continuous speech. We here present further tests of this long-term link in the form of follow-up studies conducted with two (separate) groups of infants who had earlier participated in speech segmentation tasks. Each study extends prior follow-up tests: Study 1 by using a novel follow-up measure that taps into online processing, Study 2 by assessing language performance relationships over a longer time span than previously tested. Results of Study 1 show that brain correlates of speech segmentation ability at 10 months are positively related to 16-month-olds’ target fixations in a looking-while-listening task. Results of Study 2 show that infant speech segmentation ability no longer directly predicts language profiles at the age of five. However, a meta-analysis across our results and those of similar studies (Study 3) reveals that age at follow-up does not moderate effect size. Together, the results suggest that infants’ ability to recognize words in speech certainly benefits early vocabulary development; further observed relationships of later language skills to early word recognition may be consequent upon this vocabulary size effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognition in Infants)
Open AccessArticle Dissociating Cortical Activity during Processing of Native and Non-Native Audiovisual Speech from Early to Late Infancy
Brain Sci. 2014, 4(3), 471-487; doi:10.3390/brainsci4030471
Received: 18 February 2014 / Revised: 27 June 2014 / Accepted: 14 July 2014 / Published: 11 August 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (650 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Initially, infants are capable of discriminating phonetic contrasts across the world’s languages. Starting between seven and ten months of age, they gradually lose this ability through a process of perceptual narrowing. Although traditionally investigated with isolated speech sounds, such narrowing occurs in [...] Read more.
Initially, infants are capable of discriminating phonetic contrasts across the world’s languages. Starting between seven and ten months of age, they gradually lose this ability through a process of perceptual narrowing. Although traditionally investigated with isolated speech sounds, such narrowing occurs in a variety of perceptual domains (e.g., faces, visual speech). Thus far, tracking the developmental trajectory of this tuning process has been focused primarily on auditory speech alone, and generally using isolated sounds. But infants learn from speech produced by people talking to them, meaning they learn from a complex audiovisual signal. Here, we use near-infrared spectroscopy to measure blood concentration changes in the bilateral temporal cortices of infants in three different age groups: 3-to-6 months, 7-to-10 months, and 11-to-14-months. Critically, all three groups of infants were tested with continuous audiovisual speech in both their native and another, unfamiliar language. We found that at each age range, infants showed different patterns of cortical activity in response to the native and non-native stimuli. Infants in the youngest group showed bilateral cortical activity that was greater overall in response to non-native relative to native speech; the oldest group showed left lateralized activity in response to native relative to non-native speech. These results highlight perceptual tuning as a dynamic process that happens across modalities and at different levels of stimulus complexity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognition in Infants)

Review

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Open AccessReview Multisensory Integration and Child Neurodevelopment
Brain Sci. 2015, 5(1), 32-57; doi:10.3390/brainsci5010032
Received: 6 September 2014 / Accepted: 27 January 2015 / Published: 11 February 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (132 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A considerable number of cognitive processes depend on the integration of multisensory information. The brain integrates this information, providing a complete representation of our surrounding world and giving us the ability to react optimally to the environment. Infancy is a period of [...] Read more.
A considerable number of cognitive processes depend on the integration of multisensory information. The brain integrates this information, providing a complete representation of our surrounding world and giving us the ability to react optimally to the environment. Infancy is a period of great changes in brain structure and function that are reflected by the increase of processing capacities of the developing child. However, it is unclear if the optimal use of multisensory information is present early in childhood or develops only later, with experience. The first part of this review has focused on the typical development of multisensory integration (MSI). We have described the two hypotheses on the developmental process of MSI in neurotypical infants and children, and have introduced MSI and its neuroanatomic correlates. The second section has discussed the neurodevelopmental trajectory of MSI in cognitively-challenged infants and children. A few studies have brought to light various difficulties to integrate sensory information in children with a neurodevelopmental disorder. Consequently, we have exposed certain possible neurophysiological relationships between MSI deficits and neurodevelopmental disorders, especially dyslexia and attention deficit disorder with/without hyperactivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognition in Infants)
Open AccessReview A Mechanistic Approach to Cross-Domain Perceptual Narrowing in the First Year of Life
Brain Sci. 2014, 4(4), 613-634; doi:10.3390/brainsci4040613
Received: 10 September 2014 / Revised: 11 November 2014 / Accepted: 3 December 2014 / Published: 16 December 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (427 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Language and face processing develop in similar ways during the first year of life. Early in the first year of life, infants demonstrate broad abilities for discriminating among faces and speech. These discrimination abilities then become tuned to frequently experienced groups of [...] Read more.
Language and face processing develop in similar ways during the first year of life. Early in the first year of life, infants demonstrate broad abilities for discriminating among faces and speech. These discrimination abilities then become tuned to frequently experienced groups of people or languages. This process of perceptual development occurs between approximately 6 and 12 months of age and is largely shaped by experience. However, the mechanisms underlying perceptual development during this time, and whether they are shared across domains, remain largely unknown. Here, we highlight research findings across domains and propose a top-down/bottom-up processing approach as a guide for future research. It is hypothesized that perceptual narrowing and tuning in development is the result of a shift from primarily bottom-up processing to a combination of bottom-up and top-down influences. In addition, we propose word learning as an important top-down factor that shapes tuning in both the speech and face domains, leading to similar observed developmental trajectories across modalities. Importantly, we suggest that perceptual narrowing/tuning is the result of multiple interacting factors and not explained by the development of a single mechanism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognition in Infants)

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