Visually Entrained Theta Oscillations Increase for Unexpected Events in the Infant Brain

Author(s)
Moritz Köster, Miriam Langeloh, Stefanie Hoehl
Abstract

Infants form basic expectations about their physical and social environment, as indicated by their attention toward events that violate their expectations. Yet little is known about the neuronal processing of unexpected events in the infant brain. Here, we used rhythmic visual brain stimulation in 9-month-olds (N = 38) to elicit oscillations of the theta (4 Hz) and the alpha (6 Hz) rhythms while presenting events with unexpected or expected outcomes. We found that visually entrained theta oscillations sharply increased for unexpected outcomes, in contrast to expected outcomes, in the scalp-recorded electroencephalogram. Visually entrained alpha oscillations did not differ between conditions. The processing of unexpected events at the theta rhythm may reflect learning processes such as the refinement of infants' basic representations. Visual brain-stimulation techniques provide new ways to investigate the functional relevance of neuronal oscillatory dynamics in early brain development.

Organisation(s)
Department of Applied Psychology: Health, Development, Enhancement and Intervention
External organisation(s)
Freie Universität Berlin (FU), Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Journal
Psychological Science
Volume
30
Pages
1656-1663
ISSN
0956-7976
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797619876260
Publication date
10-2019
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
Developmental psychology
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/visually-entrained-theta-oscillations-increase-for-unexpected-events-in-the-infant-brain(66f2dd67-a3e9-401e-af0f-933979533a48).html