Investigating the impact of parental status and depression symptoms on the early perceptual coding of infant faces: An event-related potential study

Laura K. Noll, Linda C. Mayes, Helena J.V. Rutherford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Infant faces are highly salient social stimuli that appear to elicit intuitive parenting behaviors in healthy adult women. Behavioral and observational studies indicate that this effect may be modulated by experiences of reproduction, caregiving, and psychiatric symptomatology that affect normative attention and reward processing of infant cues. However, relatively little is known about the neural correlates of these effects. Using the event-related potential (ERP) technique, this study investigated the impact of parental status (mother, non-mother) and depression symptoms on early visual processing of infant faces in a community sample of adult women. Specifically, the P1 and N170 ERP components elicited in response to infant face stimuli were examined. While characteristics of the N170 were not modulated by parental status, a statistically significant positive correlation was observed between depression symptom severity and N170 amplitude. This relationship was not observed for the P1. These results suggest that depression symptoms may modulate early neurophysiological responsiveness to infant cues, even at sub-clinical levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-536
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Volume7
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Depression
  • ERP/EEG, N170
  • Infant face
  • Parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Investigating the impact of parental status and depression symptoms on the early perceptual coding of infant faces: An event-related potential study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this