Temperament Differences in Fear Reactivity in Infancy: Frontal EEG Asymmetry and Recognition Memory

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Virginia Tech


Findings that relate cognition and negative affect are not very consistent. However, according to Lazarus (1982) cognitive processes are key to the development and expression of emotions. This study examined the relations between temperament fear reactivity and visual recognition memory at ten months of age. Both behavioral and physiological measurements of fear reactivity and recognition memory were examined in order to further the understanding of temperamental fear in infancy, the relationship temperamental fear reactivity holds with visual recognition memory, and the development of prefrontal and medial temporal areas in the brain. Though both social and non-social fear tasks were examined, only infants who were fearful during stranger approach demonstrated greater novelty preference during the visual paired comparison task. Reactively fearful infants also demonstrated greater left frontal activation during familiarization and recognition memory indicative of better feature discrimination.



Temperament, Physiology, Recognition Memory, Development