How early in life is conscious processing possible? Within the framework of the LUMINOUS EU project we try to approach this question at the fMEG center. As project partner in the field of early consciousness, we are using fMEG together with a complex auditory oddball paradigm to probe conscious processing of fetuses and neonates. We are measuring auditory event-related responses (AER) towards the presented tone stimuli in a cross-sectional and longitudinal study design. This allows us to trace the development of AER throughout gestation until shortly after birth. Modulations of these AER related to our stimulation paradigm let us gain new insights into the cognitive abilities of human fetuses as early as the 25th week of gestation. Measurement of cardiac signals and evaluation of fetal behavioral states complement our analysis.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme H2020-FETOPEN-2014-2015-RIA under agreement No. 686764