Inhibitory control, a core executive function, emerges in infancy and develops rapidly across childhood. Methodological limitations have meant that studies investigating the neural correlates underlying inhibitory control in infancy are rare. Employing functional near-infrared spectroscopy alongside a novel touchscreen task that measures response inhibition, this study aimed to uncover the neural underpinnings of inhibitory control in 10-month-old infants (N = 135). We found that when inhibition is required, the right prefrontal and parietal cortices were more activated than when there is no inhibitory demand. Further, activation in right prefrontal areas was associated with individual differences in response inhibition performance. This demonstrates that inhibitory control in infants as young as 10 months of age is supported by similar brain areas as in older children and adults. With this study we have lowered the age-boundary for localising the neural substrates of response inhibition to the first year of life.
Center for Open Science