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Babies neural activation of 6 months during observation and shares of motor actions: a fNIRS study

Grant number: 19/21958-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2020
Effective date (End): December 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Human Development Psychology
Principal Investigator:Ana Alexandra Caldas Osório
Grantee:Luiza Bomtempo Mendes
Host Institution: Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS). Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie (UPM). Instituto Presbiteriano Mackenzie. São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Social cognition contributes largely to the functioning and social adjustment of individuals, as it enables us to understand the social world around us. During the first year of life, the baby develops more and more skills that allow him to understand and deal with the social world, essential for his survival and healthy development. Therefore, understanding others' intentions while observing their actions is a fundamental element of development, but the underlying neural mechanisms are still poorly understood. Studies have shown that the mirror neuron system can influence this understanding of the intentions behind the observed actions. A previous study with fNIRS showed that, as in adults, babies also appear to exhibit brain activation in the motor region while observing motor actions performed by another person. However, no other research seeks to replicate these findings or to analyze whether this neural activation depends on the fine motor skills presented by the baby. Researchers have recently turned their attention to the use of Near Infrared Functional Spectrography (fNIRS) as a promising brain activity assessment technique for use in child samples, as traditional neuroimaging methods have limiting factors that hinder or prevent their use in children. Babies Thus, the present study aims, through fNIRS, to compare neural activation in motor areas during the observation and execution of motor actions and to relate this pattern of brain activation with the baby's fine motor competence. (AU)

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