Full-day Pre-congress

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Pre-congress Institute 1

Early adverse experience, social development and neural plasticity. Methods of investigation and interventions


Nathan A. Fox, University of Maryland (USA)
Lynne Murray, University of Reading (UK)
Pier Francesco Ferrari, CNRS (France)


The aim of this workshop will be to provide a state of the art perspective on infant’s social development within the framework of effects of early experience and neurophysiological mechanisms.

The program will be organized into two parts. The first one will be an overview on three major topics:

  1. Early communication in mother-infant interactions, and implications of disturbances of early social exchanges on social-cognitive development.
  2. Neural development and plasticity within an evolutionary perspective. A lesson from the neurophysiological studies of the mirror neuron system in humans and monkeys.
  3. The effects of experience on the development of the infant’s social world in institutionalized children. The Bucharest Early Intervention Project


The second part will cover several methodological aspects for investigating mother-infants interactions, with particular emphasis on intervention programs. More specifically the following topics will be analyzed:

  • Method of investigations of neural activity through electroencephalography. Behavioral tasks and investigations of mirror activity during development.
  • Microanalysis of behavior during mother-infant interactions. Using early behavioral markers to predict developmental trajectories.
  • Example of intervention programs for infants exposed to disturbances in early parent-infant interactions
  • Intervention programs in institutionalized children. What we learn about quality of care, foster-care programs, in relation to healthy attachment relationship.