The association of maternal-infant interactive behavior, dyadic frontal alpha asymmetry, and maternal anxiety in a smartphone-adapted still face paradigm

Edyta Swider-Cios, Elise Turk, Jonathan Levy, Marjorie Beeghly, Jean Vroomen, Marion I. van den Heuvel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mother-infant interactions form a strong basis for emotion regulation development in infants. These interactions can be affected by various factors, including maternal postnatal anxiety. Electroencephalography (EEG) hyperscanning allows for simultaneous assessment of mother-infant brain-to-behavior association during stressful events, such as the still-face paradigm (SFP). This study aimed at investigating dyadic interactive behavior and brain-to-behavior association across SFP and identifying neural correlates of mother-infant interactions in the context of maternal postnatal anxiety. We measured frontal alpha asymmetry (FAA), a physiological correlate of emotion regulation and a potential marker of risk for psychopathology. To emulate real-life interactions, EEG and behavioral data were collected from 38 mother-infant dyads during a smartphone-adapted dual-SFP. Although the behavioral data showed a clear still-face effect for the smartphone-adapted SFP, this was not reflected in the infant or maternal FAA. Brain-to-behavior data showed higher infant negative affect being associated with more infant leftward FAA during the still-face episodes. Finally, mothers with higher postnatal anxiety showed more right FAA during the first still-face episode, suggesting negative affectivity and a need to withdraw from the situation. Our results form a baseline for further research assessing the effects of maternal postnatal anxiety on infants’ FAA and dyadic interactive behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101352
JournalDevelopmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Volume66
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors

Funding

The authors would like to thank mothers and infants for their participation in the study. We also would like to thank several students who worked on this project, with special recognition to Vytautas Kleiza who helped with data collection, and Imke van Zon, Oumaima Al Jouharati, and Bianca Perţa who helped with behavioral data coding. This project was financially supported by the Dutch Scientific Council (NWO VI.Veni .191 G.025, PI: M.I. van den Heuvel) and The Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (Sara van Dam; PI: M.I. van den Heuvel & J. Levy). The authors would also like to thank reviewers for their valuable feedback on the manuscript. The authors would like to thank mothers and infants for their participation in the study. We also would like to thank several students who worked on this project, with special recognition to Vytautas Kleiza who helped with data collection, and Imke van Zon, Oumaima Al Jouharati, and Bianca Perţa who helped with behavioral data coding. This project was financially supported by the Dutch Scientific Council (NWO VI.Veni .191 G.025, PI: M.I. van den Heuvel) and The Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (Sara van Dam; PI: M.I. van den Heuvel & J. Levy). The authors would also like to thank reviewers for their valuable feedback on the manuscript.

FundersFunder number
Dutch Scientific Council
Imke van Zon
The Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk OnderzoekVI.Veni .191 G.025

    Keywords

    • EEG hyperscanning
    • Frontal alpha asymmetry (FAA)
    • Maternal anxiety
    • Synchrony

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