Examination of infant music behaviors during acculturation using functional-near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRs)
Elisabeth Etopio, Amanda Seccia, Richard Lamb
Infants attend to and differentiate various elements of music (Folland, Butler, Smith & Trainor, 2012; Gerry, Faux, & Trainor, 2010; Hannon & Trehub, 2005; He & Trainor, 2009; Trainor, Lee, Bosnyak, 2011). Practitioners and researchers have observed and documented children’s music and movement responses focusing on behavioral outcomes as latent measures of cognition (Gordon, 2013; Hicks, 1993; Reynolds, 1995). Hemodynamic responses can also be measured as a proxy for cognitive demand and attention as children cognize musical stimuli (Gefen, Ayaz, Onaral, 2014). Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used in the present study to determine the intensity of an infant’s ability to attend to and differentiate between musical stimuli. The purpose of this study is to examine the feasibility of using fNIRs to determine the cognitive dynamics of an infant engaged in musical activity. Specific questions are: 1. What differences exist in infant hemodynamic responses to varied musical stimuli? 2. What alignment exists between hemodynamic responses and observed music and movement behaviors? Using a biopsychosocial theoretical framework, hemodynamic responses of a seven-month-old infant were recorded to measure cognitive dynamics indicating attention, preference, and differentiation between musical stimuli. Preparatory audiation guidance strategies (Gordon, 2013) were used during presentation of the musical stimuli. A within-subject single case design (A-B-A) was implemented to expose the infant to five stimuli conditions: book (control), minor duple song, duple chant, triple chant, and Dorian triple song. The infant’s music and movement responses were video-recorded and analyzed to determine if there was alignment with the hemodynamic responses. Repeated measures ANOVA, showed that there was variation in the infant’s level of attention throughout the stimuli. There was a significant increase in hemodynamic levels during the triple chant and Dorian triple song, suggesting enhanced attention and preference. The infant demonstrated music responses such as looking, locomotor movement, and vocal babble indicating enhanced engagement with these stimuli. These results provide evidence through neuroimaging responses and linked behavior that infants have the ability to distinguish and show a preference for various tonalities and meters. The teacher’s interactions with the music responses of the child were consistent with the measure of hemodynamic responses. The authors will conduct follow up analyses to test if multiple exposures to varied tonalities and meters mediate infant behavior and hemodynamic responses.
Dr. Elisabeth Etopio, Assistant Dean for Teacher Education at the University at Buffalo, has research interests that include the professional development of early childhood teachers, the music learning of young children, and the relationship between children’s music learning and social, emotional, and cognitive development. She has more than 15 years experience teaching music classes for young children. Amanda Seccia earned her BA in Psychology from Wilkes College with concentrations in Neuroscience, Cognition, and Sociology. As a graduate student at the University at Buffalo she has studied perceptual learning in Autism and methods of retrieving physiological data from sensors. She serves as the Lab Manager for the Neurocognition Science Laboratory. Dr. Richard Lamb, Director of the Neurocognition Science Laboratory at the University at Buffalo, has research interests that focus broadly on identification and measurement of cognitive processes engaged during the use of education technology while learning. His recent work is interdisciplinary and has drawn from educational technology, neuropsychology, neuroscience, and psychometric theory to examine some of the factors that may impede or enable learning. His tools include computational modeling of student cognitive processes, measurement of affective dispositions, and identification of physiological systems via neuroimaging technologies associated with learning.