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Tuning the developing brain to emotional body expressions.

Missana, M. and Atkinson, A.P. and Grossmann, T. (2015) 'Tuning the developing brain to emotional body expressions.', Developmental science., 18 (2). pp. 243-253.


Reading others’ emotional body expressions is an essential social skill. Adults readily recognize emotions from body movements. However, it is unclear when in development infants become sensitive to bodily expressed emotions. We examined event-related brain potentials (ERPs) in 4- and 8-month-old infants in response to point-light displays (PLDs) of happy and fearful body expressions presented in two orientations (upright and inverted). The ERP results revealed that 8-month-olds but not 4-month olds respond sensitively to the orientation and the emotion of the dynamic expressions. Specifically, 8-month-olds showed (i) an early (200–400 ms) orientation-sensitive positivity over frontal and central electrodes, and (ii) a late (700–1100 ms) emotion-sensitive positivity over temporal and parietal electrodes in the right hemisphere. These findings suggest that orientation-sensitive and emotion-sensitive brain processes, distinct in timing and topography, develop between 4 and 8 months of age.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This is the accepted version of the following article: Missana, M., Atkinson, A. P. and Grossmann, T. (2015), Tuning the developing brain to emotional body expressions. Developmental Science, 18(2): 243-253, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Date accepted:07 May 2014
Date deposited:18 January 2016
Date of first online publication:11 July 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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