chapter  3
19 Pages

Pattern and Face Recognition in Infancy: Do Both Hemispheres Perceive Objects in the Same Way?: Scania de Schonen and Christine Deruelle

The various neural networks of the infant brain do not all become functional at the same rate. Some parts of the brain begin to function before birth, and others later on. Investigating the relationships between emerging behaviors and maturational neural events can, therefore, be most instructive. In some respects, this approach to the neural basis of behavior, despite some methodological difficulties, is similar to the neuropsychological approach to adult patients with brain lesions. The double dissociations between emerging behaviors and neural maturational events correspond to the double dissociations studied in adult patients between the localization of lesions and between behavioral deficits. It has become obvious however, that the emergence of a new cognitive ability in an infant cannot be accounted for simply by the functional onset of action of a group of neurons that has remained silent up to that point. Other kinds of neural events very similar or even identical to those underlying adult learning processes are probably involved in the developmental mechanisms. Discovering how learning mechanisms and neural maturation cooperate and are correlated with age-related behavioral changes is the main aim of this developmental approach.