What are you looking at? Infants' neural processing of an adult's object-directed eye gaze.Dev Sci. 2008 Jan; 11(1):10-6.DS
Previous research suggests that by 4 months of age infants use the eye gaze of adults to guide their attention and facilitate processing of environmental information. Here we address the question of how infants process the relation between another person and an external object. We applied an ERP paradigm to investigate the neural processes underlying the perception of the direction of an adult's eye gaze in 4-month-old infants. Infants showed differential processing of an adult's eye gaze, which was directed at a simultaneously presented object compared to non-object-directed eye gaze. This distinction was evident in two ERP components: The Negative component, reflecting attentional processes, and the positive slow wave, which is involved in memory encoding. The implications of these findings for the development of joint attention and related social cognitive functions are discussed.