A Biopsychosocial Perspective on Synchrony and the Development of Human Parental Care

Ilanit Gordon, Ruth Feldman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Synchronous experiences between parents and their infants provide the platform from which infants can experience their world as rich, safe, and involving multitude. In order to investigate the role of parent-infant synchrony in the development of brain and behavior, we describe research applying the mechanism of biobehavioral synchrony to the study of human development. We begin with a detailed description of behavioral synchrony and its ontogeny. We continue by exploring our research that has delved into the coordination of behavioral synchrony with biological function in three specific physiological pathways: the autonomic nervous system (heart rate and cardiac vagal tone measures), the endocrine system (hormonal biomarkers), and the brain (functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI] studies). We then describe studies that have explored biobehavioral synchrony in various psychopathologies and risk factors (premature birth, posttraumatic stress disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and maternal postpartum depression). Finally, we will outline future directions that we envision for biobehavioral synchrony research
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Infant Biopsychosocial Development
EditorsSusan D Calkins
PublisherGuilford Press
ISBN (Print)1462522165
StatePublished - 2015


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