American scientists have found that functional connections that are needed for processing visual information about faces and places, present in the brain of infants for a few days. To do this, they followed separate areas of the visual cortex and nearby divisions in the brain of infants from six days to two months and adults. Article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The sensory system of the brain is quite specific in terms of processing incoming information. First and foremost, it concerns visual stimuli: after treatment of the primary visual cortex (in front of her, by the way, the preprocessing performs and posterior parietal cortex) different aspects of visual information (e.g., color, shape, orientation) are analyzed in different parts of the brain. It is interesting that such selective treatment applies not only to the individual parameters of the visual stimulus, but it as a whole visual system of the human brain, therefore, is not only a separate area that is responsible for color recognition, but also those that recognize mainly the face.
Selective treatment appears to be very important for the human brain. To the end, however, it is unclear whether it occurs in the process of human learning by contact with the visual stimulus or is present originally formed in the early stages of development before birth. Recent studies indicate that selective processing of visual stimuli may in fact be innate (or developed very early and very quickly — in just a few days): the “right” face shape can recognize even a four-day children, but involved in the treatment have the same divisions of the occipital lobes in adults. The experiments on monkeys show that the monitoring of people’s ability to recognize them is still necessary. It is unclear at this how is the ability to process other stimuli in comparison with the same parties: it’s possible that in the early stages of development (but after birth), the brain still does not process information selectively.
Check it out on the example of the processing of persons and places decided by scientists under the leadership of Frederick Kamps (Kamps Frederik) from Emory University. In their experiment involved 30 infants aged from six days to less than two months (the average age of the participants — less than one month). They suggested that if processing system of different incentives in fact innate, they should be allocated already at such an early age and must be visible and without stimulation — the strength of functional connections between them.
Scientists conducted an experiment using fMRI in the resting state with the participation of all infants and, for comparison, 15 adult. They focused on five areas of interest in the brain: primary visual cortex, which receives first information about a visual stimulus, the area of the occipital lobe selectively processing faces, and functionally related part of the fusiform gyrus and associated with each other retrosplenial crust and parahippocampal gyrus that selectively process visual information about the places. Data on the participation of departments considered in the selective processing of visual stimuli previously obtained for adults.
It turned out that in infants just as in adults, functional connectivity between areas involved in processing a particular stimulus type (either persons or places), is stronger than between plots that treated with different stimuli. A similar relationship was observed regardless of age of the baby.