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Neural correlates of own- and other-race face recognition in preschoolers: A functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) study

26.316, Saturday, 17-May, 2:45 pm - 6:45 pm, Jacaranda Hall
Session: Development: Lifespan

Xiao Pan Ding1, Genyue Fu1, Kang Lee2; 1Zhejiang Normal University, 2University of Toronto

Previous studies revealed a neural other-race effect (NORE) paralleling the behavioral other-race effect, suggesting that adultsÂ’ asymmetrical experience with own- and other-race faces have a direct impact not only on their behavior but also on neural responses. However, the developmental origin of the neural other-race effect is still unknown. The present study used the functional Near-infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) methodology to investigate the neural correlates of preschoolersÂ’ own- and other-race face processing. An old-new paradigm was used to assess preschoolerÂ’s recognition ability of own- and other-race faces (N=67, Age: 4.08 to 6.50 Years). FNIRS data revealed that own-race faces elicited significantly greater [oxy-Hb] changes than other-race faces in the left middle frontal gyrus (left MFG, BA10, 46) and the left middle occipital gyrus (left MOG, V2). The [oxy-Hb] activity differences between own- and other-race faces, or the NORE was significantly positively correlated with age in the left MFG, but negatively correlated with age in the left MOG. Moreover, these areas had strong functional connectivity with a large swath of the cortical regions in terms of the NORE. These results taken together suggest that similar to school aged children and adults, preschoolers devote different amounts of neural resources to processing own- and other-race faces. But the size of their neural other-race effect and associated functional regional connectivity undergo developmental changes.

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