Our investigation is a developmental cognitive neuroscience examination of inhibitory control during infancy. Using a cross-sectional research design, we will test whether neurophysiological levels of analysis distinguish between two specific types of inhibitory control during infancy: attention inhibition and cognitive inhibition. Infants will be seen either at 9 or at 12 months of age and will complete two inhibitory control tasks while brain electrophysiology is recorded. We will use ERP components associated with inhibitory control, attention, and memory to characterize the two types of inhibitory control processes. Importantly, we will identify ERP components associated with inhibitory control during infancy, currently a major gap in the developmental research literature and an innovation of our study. Our proposed study is critical for understanding early cognitive development and we do so by contributing to the basic cognitive neuroscience work on inhibitory control. We will address three research aims. 1) We will compare attentional and memory ERP components on two types of inhibitory control tasks at 9 and 12 months of age. 2) We will determine and identify infant- specific ERP components related to the inhibitory control. 3) We will examine age-related differences in attention, memory, and inhibitory control ERP components.
Inhibitory control is the ability to control one's thoughts, attention, behavior, and emotions, with inhibitory control abilities in early childhood predicting cognitive, academic, and socio-emotional outcomes in childhood and beyond. Because inhibitory control has its foundations during infancy, knowledge of the earliest development of inhibitory processes is critical for understanding how inhibition influences multiple developmental outcomes.