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1 - Using a Social-Interactive Neuroscience Approach to Study Cognitive Processes Underlying Risk for Developmental Psychopathology

Sat, March 23, 4:15 to 5:45pm, Baltimore Convention Center, Floor: Level 3, Room 313

Session Type: Paper Symposium

Integrative Statement

Children grow up embedded in a social world. The associations between cognition and developmental psychopathology, supported by variation in brain-behavior connections, likely reflect how children engage with social relationships. Prior methods are typically contextually removed from the social interactions that children experience on a frequent basis, such as passive viewing static stimuli via computer paradigms. This symposium examines cognitive processes across semi-naturalistic social interactions using diverse methodological assessments (mobile eye-tracking, functional near infrared spectroscopy, and electroencephalography) and their associations with psychopathology risk.

Presentation 1 examines stationary and ambulatory attention patterns toward social stimuli using screen-based and mobile eye-tracking paradigms in 5- to 7-year-old children. High levels of parent-reported social withdrawal are related to greater sustained attention bias toward novel, and potentially ambiguous, social stimuli. Presentation 2 uses mobile eye-tracking to chart young children’s (Mage=5.88yrs) sustained attention during a challenging parent-child task. State space grids indicate that temperamentally-inhibited children remain in each behavioral state for a longer period of time, a preliminary indicator of dyadic rigidity. Presentation 3 uses fNIRS to examine interpersonal neural synchronization during a mildly frustrating parent-child task. Here, children with higher irritable temperament have greater difficulty achieving brain synchronization with their parent. In Presentation 4, children complete the Wrong Gift task, used to measure emotion regulation, while recording EEG. Frontal EEG asymmetry moderates the relation between maternal distress responses and child externalizing problems. Together, these presentations demonstrate the importance of studying links among multiple physiological and cognitive processes underlying social behaviors using more naturalistic paradigms.

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