Familiarization, attention, and recognition memory in infancy: an event-related potential and cortical source localization study

Dev Psychol. 2005 Jul;41(4):598-615. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.41.4.598.


This study investigated the effects of familiarization and attention on event-related potential (ERP) correlates of recognition memory in infants. Infants 4.5, 6, or 7.5 months of age were either familiarized with 2 stimuli that were used during later testing or presented 2 stimuli that were not used later. Then, infants were presented with a recording of Sesame Street to elicit attention or inattention and presented with familiar and novel stimuli. A negative ERP component over the frontal and central electrodes (Nc) was larger in the preexposure familiarization group for novel- than for familiar-stimulus presentations, whereas the Nc did not differ for the group not receiving a familiarization exposure. Spatial independent components analysis of the electroencephelogram and "equivalent current dipole" analysis were used to examine putative cortical sources of the ERP components. The cortical source of Nc was located in areas of prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arousal / physiology
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted