Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) research to date has tended to publish group-averaged rather than individual infant data due to normative basic research goals. Acquisition of individual infant time courses holds interest, however, both for cognitive science and particularly for clinical applications. Infants are more difficult to study than adults as they cannot be instructed to remain still. In addressing this, upright infants pose several associated complications for the researcher. We identified and optimized the factors that affect the quality of fNIRS data from individual 6- to 9-month-old infants exposed to a visual stimulation paradigm. The fNIRS headpiece was reconfigured to reduce inertia, increase comfort, and improve conformity to the head, while preserving fiber density to avoid missing the visual cortex activation. The visual-stimulation protocol was modified to keep the attention of infants throughout the measurement, thus helping to reduce motion artifacts. Adequate optical contact was verified by checking power levels before each measurement. By revising our experimental process and our data rejection criteria to prioritize good optical contact, we report for the first time usable hemodynamic data from 83% of infants and that two-thirds of infants produced a statistically significant fNIRS response.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- brain activation
- functional near-infrared spectroscopy
- visual cortex