Animal studies demonstrated the powerful impact of maternal-infant social contact on the infant's physiological systems, yet the online effects of social interactions on the human infant's physiology remain poorly understood. Mothers and their 3-month old infants were observed during face-to-face interactions while cardiac output was collected from mother and child. Micro-analysis of the partners' behavior marked episodes of gaze, affect, and vocal synchrony. Time-series analysis showed that mother and infant coordinate heart rhythms within lags of less than 1. s. Bootstrapping analysis indicated that the concordance between maternal and infant biological rhythms increased significantly during episodes of affect and vocal synchrony compared to non-synchronous moments. Humans, like other mammals, can impact the physiological processes of the attachment partner through the coordination of visuo-affective social signals.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Research in Dr. Feldman's lab during the study period was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (# 1318/08 ), the NARSAD Foundation (independent investigator award), the Katz family foundation, and the Irving B. Harris Foundation.
- Biological synchrony
- Evolutionary models
- Heart rhythm
- Interaction synchrony
- Mammalian parenting
- Mother-infant interaction