Theta- and alpha-band EEG activity in response to eye gaze cues in early infancy

Neuroimage. 2015 Sep;118:576-83. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.06.042. Epub 2015 Jun 19.


In order to elucidate the development of how infants use eye gaze as a referential cue, we investigated theta and alpha oscillations in response to object-directed and object-averted eye gaze in infants aged 2, 4, 5, and 9months. At 2months of age, no difference between conditions was found. In 4- and 9-month-olds, alpha-band activity desynchronized more in response to faces looking at objects compared to faces looking away from objects. Theta activity in 5-month-old infants differed between conditions with more theta synchronization for object-averted eye gaze. Whereas alpha desynchronization might reflect mechanisms of early social object learning, theta is proposed to imply activity in the executive attention network. The interplay between alpha and theta activity represents developmental changes in both kinds of processes during early infancy.

Keywords: Alpha desynchronization; Eye gaze cues; Infancy; Theta synchronization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alpha Rhythm / physiology*
  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Theta Rhythm / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology