I see you: Social gaze as a window of opportunity in early brain development

Colloquium | January 29 | 12:15-1:15 p.m. | 3105 Tolman Hall

 Ronny Geva, The Gonda Brain Research Center, Bar Ilan University, Israel

 Department of Psychology

Social bonding—including the social learning that underpins the creation of early emotional ties between infants and their caretakers—are among the most fundamental developmental processes for human survival and well-being. Social attention is thought to play a crucial role in these processes, but little is known about the neurodevelopmental mechanisms—particularly regarding the involvement of brainstem networks in social attention and arousal.
This seminar will introduce a model exploring the role of early maturing brainstem pathways in gating social attention. Using a prospective decade-long longitudinal study utilizing electrophysiological and gaze tracking measures, social attention findings will be presented from typically developing infants and children at risk for attention deficits and autism. These findings underscore the role of sub-cortical inputs to the evolving social-neural network in ways that may contribute to our understanding of the development of social behavior and social bonding. The implications for early diagnosis of social developmental risk and the prevention of mother-infant bonding difficulties will be discussed. In addition, some work-in-progress on individually tailored gaze-contingent interventions will be described.

 lisabranum@berkeley.edu, 510-642-7239