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Title: Socioeconomic Status and Premature Birth Shape Infants’ Cognitive Development of Working Memory and Sensory Prediction
Authors: Higgins, Victoria
Advisors: Emberson, Lauren
Department: Psychology
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: The conditions of birth have long-term consequences for cognitive development. Much research has been devoted to uncovering the neural repercussions of early birth and low socioeconomic status, but their influence has rarely been discussed within the context of the inherently predictive nature of the brain, the importance of which is a recent theoretical development in the field. In Experiment 2, we used cross-modal encoding and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (FNIRS) to investigate whether these risk factors affect the development of top-down prediction in the infant brain at 6 months (corrected for gestational age). In Experiment 1, we repurposed an experimental design established by Feigenson and Carey (2003) to explore the relationship between this predictive ability and working memory capacity in a small follow-up group of preterm subjects from Experiment 2 and a new control group of full-term subjects. Our findings suggest that early birth delays the development of top-down sensory prediction to an extent that cannot be fully explained by socioeconomic disadvantage, and that this delay may be linked to working memory dysfunction.
Extent: 57 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2017

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