Mother–Infant Brain-to-Brain Synchrony Patterns Reflect Caregiving Profiles

Yaara Endevelt-Shapira, Ruth Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biobehavioral synchrony, the coordination of physiological and behavioral signals between mother and infant during social contact, tunes the child’s brain to the social world. Probing this mechanism from a two-brain perspective, we examine the associations between patterns of mother–infant inter-brain synchrony and the two well-studied maternal behavioral orientations—sensitivity and intrusiveness—which have repeatedly been shown to predict positive and negative socio-emotional outcomes, respectively. Using dual-electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings, we measure inter-brain connectivity between 60 mothers and their 5- to 12-month-old infants during face-to-face interaction. Thirty inter-brain connections show significantly higher correlations during the real mother–infant face-to-face interaction compared to surrogate data. Brain–behavior correlations indicate that higher maternal sensitivity linked with greater mother–infant neural synchrony, whereas higher maternal intrusiveness is associated with lower inter-brain coordination. Post hoc analysis reveals that the mother-right-frontal–infant-left-temporal connection is particularly sensitive to the mother’s sensitive style, while the mother-left-frontal–infant-right-temporal connection indexes the intrusive style. Our results support the perspective that inter-brain synchrony is a mechanism by which mature brains externally regulate immature brains to social living and suggest that one pathway by which sensitivity and intrusiveness exert their long-term effect may relate to the provision of coordinated inputs to the social brain during its sensitive period of maturation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number284
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was supported by the Simms/Mann Foundation Chair to R.F. and the Bezos Family Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • hyperscanning
  • inter-brain synchrony
  • intrusiveness
  • maternal sensitivity
  • social brain
  • social neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Mother–Infant Brain-to-Brain Synchrony Patterns Reflect Caregiving Profiles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this