Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Am I angry or happy, babe?

It is known that adults process the image of angry or happy faces through a part of the brain called the STS (superior temporal sulcus). A non-invasive technique called NIRS (near-infrared spectroscopy) has been used by a Japanese team to see if babies do the same.

NIRS involves placing electrodes on the baby’s head, but otherwise does not harm or constrain the child. It looks at a number of components of blood flow known to be associated with brain activation.

Other studies have suggested that babies develop the ability to distinguish happy and angry faces around the age of 6 to 7 months, so the Japanese team carried out their research on 7 month old babies.

They confirmed that babies also process happy and angry faces through the STS, like adults, with happy and angry faces activating different parts of the STS.

For happy faces, brain activity built up slowly and continued even after the happy face disappeared. For angry faces, the response was different, with a quicker build-up and a rapid decline when the angry face disappeared.

So, simply by looking at your face, your 6 month old baby can tell if you’re angry or happy.


November 7, 2010 - Posted by | Brain, Learning, Relationships, Success

1 Comment »

  1. Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Reveal Infants’ Hemodynamic Responses To Happy And Angry Facial Expressions…

    A Japanese research group led by Prof. Ryusuke Kakigi and Dr. Emi Nakato (National Institute for Physiological Sciences: NIPS) and Prof. Masami K Yamaguchi (Chuo University) found hemispheric differences in the temporal area overlying superior temporal…

    Trackback by | November 9, 2010 | Reply

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