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Neuropsychologia. 2019 Feb 18;124:117-124. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2018.12.021. Epub 2018 Dec 27.

Inter-brain synchrony in mother-child dyads during cooperation: An fNIRS hyperscanning study.

Author information

1
Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research, Division of Brain Sciences, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, Stanford University, 401 Quarry Road, Palo Alto, CA 94305, United States. Electronic address: jgmiller@stanford.edu.
2
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Department of Social Neuroscience, Leipzig 04103 Germany. Electronic address: vrticka@cbs.mpg.des.
3
Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research, Division of Brain Sciences, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, Stanford University, 401 Quarry Road, Palo Alto, CA 94305, United States.
4
Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research, Division of Brain Sciences, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, Stanford University, 401 Quarry Road, Palo Alto, CA 94305, United States; Department of Radiology, School of Medicine, Stanford University, 1201 Welch Road, Palo Alto, CA 94305, United States.

Abstract

Coordinated brain activity between individuals, or inter-brain synchrony, has been shown to increase during cooperation and correlate with cooperation success. However, few studies have examined parent-child inter-brain synchrony and whether it is associated with meaningful aspects of the parent-child relationship. Here, we measured inter-brain synchrony in the right prefrontal (PFC) and temporal cortices in mother-child dyads while they engaged in a cooperative and independent task. We tested whether inter-brain synchrony in mother-child dyads (1) increases during cooperation, (2) differs in mother-son versus mother-daughter dyads, and (3) is related to cooperation performance and the attachment relationship. Overall inter-brain synchrony in the right hemisphere, and the right dorsolateral and frontopolar PFC in particular, was higher during cooperation. Mother-son dyads showed less inter-brain synchrony during the independent task and a stronger increase in synchrony in response to cooperation than mother-daughter dyads. Lastly, we did not find strong evidence for links between inter-brain synchrony and child attachment. Mother-child cooperation may increase overall inter-brain synchrony, although differently for mother-son versus mother-daughter dyads. More research is needed to better understand the potential role of overall inter-brain synchrony in mother-child cooperation, and the potential link between inter-brain synchrony and attachment.

KEYWORDS:

Cooperation; Inter-brain synchrony; Mother-child attachment; fNIRS hyperscanning

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