How Does Experience Shape Early Development? Considering the Role of Top-Down Mechanisms

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Perceptual development requires infants to adapt their perceptual systems to the structures and statistical information of their environment. In this way, perceptual development is not only important in its own right, but is a case study for behavioral and neural plasticity—powerful mechanisms that have the potential to support developmental change in numerous domains starting early in life. While it is widely assumed that perceptual development is a bottom-up process, where simple exposure to sensory input modifies perceptual representations starting early in the perceptual system, there are several critical phenomena in this literature that cannot be explained with an exclusively bottom-up model. This chapter proposes a complementary mechanism where nascent top-down information, feeding back from higher-level regions of the brain, helps to guide perceptual development. Supporting this theoretical proposal, recent behavioral and neuroimaging studies have established that young infants already have the capacity to engage in top-down modulation of their perceptual systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Child Development and Behavior
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Pages1-41
Number of pages41
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameAdvances in Child Development and Behavior
Volume52
ISSN (Print)0065-2407

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Keywords

  • Bottom-up
  • Infant
  • Learning
  • Neuroimaging
  • Perceptual development
  • Plasticity
  • Top-down
  • fNIRS

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