Undergraduate Honours Theses
Many resting state networks have been detected in newborn infants using functional connectivity Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fcMRI). Few studies have looked at a social cognition network in adults and none have looked at this network in infants. Social cognition plays an important role in social competence at school age and beyond, and infants born prematurely tend to have difficulties with peer relationships and lower academic performance by school-age. This study had two purposes: to find a social cognition network in our preterm and neurologically diagnosed sample, and to find a relationship to social interaction scores from the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales-II (VABS-II). Results showed a positive correlation between an adult fcMRI and neonate fcMRI social cognition network, r(64) = .59, p < .05, however, no correlation was found between fcMRI similarity (to adults) scores in the first six months, r(30) = .17, p > .05, or the second six months, r(30) = .09, p > .05 of life using the VABS-II social interaction category. Results also show no correlation between fcMRI scores of neonates and gestational age, r(30) = .20, p > .05, nor birth weight, r(30) = .22, p > .05). There are important implications for government spending, educational support, and child outcomes if we can predict which children need intervention, and implement them sooner than school-age. More research is needed to further assess and confirm the social cognition network in infants and find connections to later social adeptness in children so we can benefit this population sooner.