Z-Lab Reveals Disconnect in Newborn Brains

CBI affiliate, Zeynep Saygin (Ph.D), has been productive in her recent usage of brain scanning. Dr. Saygin runs the Z-Lab within Ohio State's Department of Psychology, which studies the architecture of the human brain and how it changes across development and life experiences. In another study, Dr. Saygin found an important role for the VFWA brain area in the human development of a language network. The VFWA stands for the visual word form area, which is hypothesized to be involved in identifying words and letters. In another recent imaging study, Dr. Saygin and fellow researchers have revealed a disconnect between visual and emotional regions in newborn brains. The findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

These scans have thus far shown that unlike the VFWA, humans are not born with fully matured brain circuity that enables us to connect our emotions with the visual or auditory stimuli around us. Dr. Saygin's research is the first study to look at newborns, and it suggests that babies need more experience and maturation to correspond higher-level emotions with the things that they see and hear.

The latest research from the Z-Lab has substantial implications, as this functional connection could play a pivotal role in emotional disorders that present themselves earlier in life. By continually learning more about the development of this brain circuitry, further progress can be made in new diagnostic and treatment interventions for these disorders.

Learn more about this recent study from the Z-Lab: