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ERIC Number: EJ820057
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 68
ISSN: ISSN-1525-0008
Contingency Learning and Reactivity in Preterm and Full-Term Infants at 3 Months
Haley, David W.; Grunau, Ruth E.; Oberlander, Tim F.; Weinberg, Joanne
Infancy, v13 n6 p570-595 Nov 2008
Learning difficulties in preterm infants are thought to reflect impairment in arousal regulation. We examined relationships among gestational age, learning speed, and behavioral and physiological reactivity in 55 preterm and 49 full-term infants during baseline, contingency, and nonreinforcement phases of a conjugate mobile paradigm at 3 months corrected age. For all infants, negative affect, looking duration, and heart rate levels increased during contingency and nonreinforcement phases, whereas respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA, an index of parasympathetic activity) decreased and cortisol did not change. Learners showed greater RSA suppression and less negative affect than nonlearners. This pattern was particularly evident in the preterm group. Overall, preterm infants showed less learning, spent less time looking at the mobile, and had lower cortisol levels than full-term infants. Preterm infants also showed greater heart rate responses to contingency and dampened heart rate responses to nonreinforcement compared to full-term infants. Findings underscore differences in basal and reactivity measures in preterm compared to full-term infants and suggest that the capacity to regulate parasympathetic activity during a challenge enhances learning in preterm infants. (Contains 3 tables and 4 figures.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada