Nonlinear Change in Infant Cognition Related to Linear Changes in Brain Activity Over Time

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Recent research from graduate student Leigha MacNeill and collaborators Drs. Nilam Ram, Martha Ann Bell, Nathan Fox, and Koraly Pérez-Edgar examined infants' cognitive performance and brain activity monthly from 6 to 12 months of age. They found that infants with faster rates of increases in cognitive skill (i.e., performance on the A-not-B task) had lower occipital EEG power at 6 months and greater linear increases in occipital power. This study used contemporary analytic techniques to assess a classic developmental phenomenon, suggesting that aspects of infants' cognitive skill develop nonlinearly and relate to changes in linear brain activity over time. These data were collected in Dr. Fox's lab at the University of Maryland. The article is to be published in Child Development.