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Title: Neural correlates for body perception development during childhood
Author: Ke, Han
ISNI:       0000 0004 7960 5167
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2018
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The current thesis examined the development of the neural mechanism underlying emotional body perception, during childhood, using Event-Related Potentials (ERPs). Understanding other people's emotional status is a crucial need in children's everyday interactions. Literature suggests that children benefit from body cues as much as they do from facial cues in identifying emotion (Nelson & Russell, 2011). Moreover, bodily emotion recognition is an important indicator of children's cognitive development (Atkinson, 2009; Munoz, 2009). However, despite being such an important cue of emotion information for children, the neural mechanism behind emotional body perception, as well as its developmental pattern during childhood, remained poorly investigated. This thesis is comprised of three studies that explored these unknown areas in the field. Paper 1 examined the developmental changes in the neural mechanism underlying body perception, by looking at the associated ERPs in response to upright and inverted bodies. Results revealed an opposite body inversion effect across 3-10-year-old children compared to that of adults, suggesting that adult-like processing is still not achieved until late childhood. Paper 2 examined emotion processing from static body postures in 5-8-years-old children. Findings suggested from the age of 5 children show early emotion sensitivity at the body structure encoding stage. Furthermore, body representation was found to interfere with emotion perception. Paper 3 examined emotional body perception in realistic setting by looking at 3-6-year-old children's neural response to semantic incongruent effects of pair point-light displays of body movements and target emotional words. Results indicated that, from the age of 3, children can extract emotional information from subtle body movements and integrate semantic meaning to this. Overall, the current work addresses the development of children's body emotion recognition in terms of the neural fundamentals of body recognition and emotion recognition from static, as well as from dynamic postures. This thesis provided essential evidence for reducing the knowledge gap in emotional body perception development.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral