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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Neural Correlates of Face Familiarity in Institutionally Reared Children With Distinctive, Atypical Social Behavior

  • Author(s): Mesquita, AR
  • Belsky, J
  • Crego, A
  • Fachada, I
  • Oliveira, P
  • Sampaio, A
  • Soares, I
  • et al.

© 2015 The Authors. Although the impact of early adverse experience on neural processing of face familiarity has been studied, research has not taken into account disordered child behavior. This work compared the neural processing of familiar versus strangers' faces in 47 institutionalized children with a mean age of 54 months to determine the effects of (a) the presence versus absence of atypical social behavior and (b) inhibited versus indiscriminant atypical behavior. Results revealed a pattern of cortical hypoactivation in institutionalized children manifesting atypical social behavior and that inhibited children displayed larger neural response to a caregiver's face than to the stranger's, while indiscriminant children did not discriminate between stimuli. These findings suggest that neural correlates of face familiarity are associated with social functioning in institutionalized children.

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