Poster F59, Tuesday, March 27, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
The Tell-Tale Heart: Infant memory for a stressful social event at 4-months.
Isabelle Mueller1, Nancy Snidman1, Jennifer DiCorcia1, Akhila Sravish1, Erin Duffy1, Ed Tronick1; 1University of Massachusetts Boston
Research on infant memory is typically based on non-stressful stimuli such as novelty- or imitation-paradigms, but our understanding of infant memory for a social stressor is limited. To fill this gap, the present study uses the Face-to-Face Still-Face (FFSF) procedure, a paradigm that elicits a well documented behavioral stress response in infants. Infants in the experimental condition (n=40) were exposed to the FFSF on two consecutive days, while the control group (n=40) completed a time-matched play-session on day 1 and the FFSF on day 2. Changes in behavior, heart rate (HR) and salivary cortisol were evaluated. Infants in the experimental condition showed a significant decrease in positive affect and an increase in HR on day 2, compared to controls. The change in infant HR was independent from maternal HR which did not differ between day 1 and day 2 or between groups. The groups did not differ in salivary cortisol on day 2. Findings suggest that a previous stressful experience may elicit a behavioral and physiological response in infants 24 hours later. The results could have implications for further research on stressful and traumatic events in early childhood.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Development & aging