Good mood connects
When playing together, mother and child not only coordinate their gaze, mood and vocalizations, but also synchronize their brain waves and form a kind of super network. Researchers led by Lorena Santamaria from the University of Cambridge have now discovered that the emotional state of the parents could play a decisive role.
They performed a double electroencephalography (EEG) and at the same time measured the brain waves of mother and child while they were interacting with each other. The women sat opposite their baby and were given different toys one after the other. The 15 participating mothers were asked to show a positive reaction to half of the objects, such as happy exclamations and laughter, while they were supposed to react negatively to the other objects and make a rather sad face.
Good feelings, that was the result of the subsequent evaluation, ensured that the brain waves of mother and child synchronized more closely with each other. Previous research has shown that infants are more receptive to their environment and more willing to learn when there is strong neural synchronization with their caregiver. The researchers suspect that positive interactions with lots of eye contact therefore stimulate brain development in early childhood. Conversely, depressed moods in parents, which are often associated with less eye contact and a monotonous mood, could have a negative effect.