Responding to infant cry : uncovering the roles of gender and context on the central and peripheral nervous systems
Nur Atiqah Azhari
Date of Issue2017-05-08
School of Biological Sciences
Social Affective Neuroscience (SAN) Lab
Sensitive response to infant's needs is important in child development. Men and women differ in how they attend to infants, and context is essential in modulating attention to infant vocalizations. In this study, Near-infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) and Electrocardiogram (ECG) were utilized to investigate differences in peripheral and central nervous responses of men and women to baby laughter (BL) and infant cry (IC), when presented with different contextual stimuli: domestic environment (DE); outside the domestic environment (OE). From ECG findings: Only BL elicited increased sympathetic arousal in OE than DE condition, independent of attentional focus to context. From NIRS findings: Explicit attention to context extensively activated the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), ventrolateral PFC (VLPFC), inferior frontal cortex (IFC) and frontal pole, especially in OE condition. Significant gender differences were observed in the OE condition, governed by the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and IFC. Specifically, men, but not women, exhibited greater right OFC activation to IC, and right IFC deactivation to female adult cry (AC). However, men displayed greater right IFC activation to AC in the DE than OE condition. These findings highlight the modulation of responses to salient vocalizations by gender, contextual information, and level of attention to the environment.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University