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Mothers' neural responses to infant faces are associated with activation of the maternal care system and observed intrusiveness with their own child.
Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2018 08; 18(4):609-621.CA

Abstract

Certain infant facial characteristics, referred to as baby schema, are thought to automatically trigger parenting behavior and affective orientation toward infants. Electroencephalography (EEG) is well suited to assessing the intuitive nature and temporal dynamics of parenting responses, due to its millisecond temporal resolution. Little is known, however, about the relations between neural processing of infant cues and actual parenting behavior in a naturalistic setting. In the present study we examined the event-related potentials (ERPs) of mothers (N = 33) watching infant faces of varying attractiveness, in relation to activation of the maternal care system and the mothers' observed parenting behavior (sensitivity, nonintrusiveness) with their own child (2-6 years old). The results revealed that, irrespective of the cuteness of the infant face, mothers' neural processing of infant faces involved both early P1 and P2 components (related to orienting/detecting processes) and late positive potentials (LPPs; related to more controlled cognitive evaluation/attentional engagement). Increased early detection and processing of infant faces (reflected by P1 and P2 activity) was related to increased activation of the parental care system. In later stages of face processing, increased attentional engagement with infant faces (as reflected by LPP activity) was associated with more intrusiveness of a mother with her own child during interaction. These findings suggest that individual variations in responses to infant stimuli are associated with individual differences in parental care system activation and parenting quality. Furthermore, the parental care system might be activated relatively automatically, but actual parenting and caregiving behavior requires more conscious control.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Child and Adolescent Studies, Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan1, P.O. Box 80140, 3508 TC, Utrecht, The Netherlands. J.J.Endendijk@uu.nl.Department of Experimental Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.Child and Adolescent Studies, Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan1, P.O. Box 80140, 3508 TC, Utrecht, The Netherlands.Department of Experimental Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

29651689

Citation

Endendijk, Joyce J., et al. "Mothers' Neural Responses to Infant Faces Are Associated With Activation of the Maternal Care System and Observed Intrusiveness With Their Own Child." Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, vol. 18, no. 4, 2018, pp. 609-621.
Endendijk JJ, Spencer H, van Baar AL, et al. Mothers' neural responses to infant faces are associated with activation of the maternal care system and observed intrusiveness with their own child. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2018;18(4):609-621.
Endendijk, J. J., Spencer, H., van Baar, A. L., & Bos, P. A. (2018). Mothers' neural responses to infant faces are associated with activation of the maternal care system and observed intrusiveness with their own child. Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, 18(4), 609-621. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13415-018-0592-6
Endendijk JJ, et al. Mothers' Neural Responses to Infant Faces Are Associated With Activation of the Maternal Care System and Observed Intrusiveness With Their Own Child. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2018;18(4):609-621. PubMed PMID: 29651689.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Mothers' neural responses to infant faces are associated with activation of the maternal care system and observed intrusiveness with their own child. AU - Endendijk,Joyce J, AU - Spencer,Hannah, AU - van Baar,Anneloes L, AU - Bos,Peter A, PY - 2018/4/14/pubmed PY - 2019/6/14/medline PY - 2018/4/14/entrez KW - Event-related potentials KW - LPP KW - Mothers KW - P1 KW - P2 KW - Parenting quality SP - 609 EP - 621 JF - Cognitive, affective & behavioral neuroscience JO - Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci VL - 18 IS - 4 N2 - Certain infant facial characteristics, referred to as baby schema, are thought to automatically trigger parenting behavior and affective orientation toward infants. Electroencephalography (EEG) is well suited to assessing the intuitive nature and temporal dynamics of parenting responses, due to its millisecond temporal resolution. Little is known, however, about the relations between neural processing of infant cues and actual parenting behavior in a naturalistic setting. In the present study we examined the event-related potentials (ERPs) of mothers (N = 33) watching infant faces of varying attractiveness, in relation to activation of the maternal care system and the mothers' observed parenting behavior (sensitivity, nonintrusiveness) with their own child (2-6 years old). The results revealed that, irrespective of the cuteness of the infant face, mothers' neural processing of infant faces involved both early P1 and P2 components (related to orienting/detecting processes) and late positive potentials (LPPs; related to more controlled cognitive evaluation/attentional engagement). Increased early detection and processing of infant faces (reflected by P1 and P2 activity) was related to increased activation of the parental care system. In later stages of face processing, increased attentional engagement with infant faces (as reflected by LPP activity) was associated with more intrusiveness of a mother with her own child during interaction. These findings suggest that individual variations in responses to infant stimuli are associated with individual differences in parental care system activation and parenting quality. Furthermore, the parental care system might be activated relatively automatically, but actual parenting and caregiving behavior requires more conscious control. SN - 1531-135X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/29651689/Mothers'_neural_responses_to_infant_faces_are_associated_with_activation_of_the_maternal_care_system_and_observed_intrusiveness_with_their_own_child_ L2 - https://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13415-018-0592-6 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -