Most parents in this era are occupied , even when they are at home. They hooked to either laptop or mobile or TV. While they are hooked to gadgets, they continue doing conversations with family members, including kids. And then they claim spending good amount of time with family and kids.
When the adult and infant are looking at each other, they are signalling their availability and intention to communicate with each other
Really?What is missing here? Is it quality time?
Eye contact is missing. It is reduced. Major flaw in imparting संस्कार! There is no brain to brain connection! There is no mind-mind connection! Shallow conversations don’t transfer
Eye contact with your baby helps synchronise your brainwaves
When a parent and infant interact, various aspects of their behaviour can synchronise, including their gaze, emotions and heartrate, but little is known about whether their brain activity also synchronises – and what the consequences of this might be.
Brainwaves reflect the group-level activity of millions of neurons and are involved in information transfer between brain regions. Previous studies have shown that when two adults are talking to each other, communication is more successful if their brainwaves are in synchrony.
Researchers at the Baby-LINC Lab at the University of Cambridge carried out a study to explore whether infants can synchronise their brainwaves to adults too – and whether eye contact might influence this. Their results are published today in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
The team examined the brainwave patterns of 36 infants (17 in the first experiment and 19 in the second) using electroencephalography (EEG), which measures patterns of brain electrical activity via electrodes in a skull cap worn by the participants. They compared the infants’ brain activity to that of the adult who was singing nursery rhymes to the infant.
In the first of two experiments, the infant watched a video of an adult as she sang nursery rhymes. First, the adult – whose brainwave patterns had already been recorded – was looking directly at the infant. Then, she turned her head to avert her gaze, while still singing nursery rhymes. Finally, she turned her head away, but her eyes looked directly back at the infant.
As anticipated, the researchers found that infants’ brainwaves were more synchronised to the adults’ when the adult’s gaze met the infant’s, as compared to when her gaze was averted Interestingly, the greatest synchronising effect occurred when the adults’ head was turned away but her eyes still looked directly at the infant. The researchers say this may be because such a gaze appears highly deliberate, and so provides a stronger signal to the infant that the adult intends to communicate with her.
In the second experiment, a real adult replaced the video. She only looked either directly at the infant or averted her gaze while singing nursery rhymes. This time, however, her brainwaves could be monitored live to see whether her brainwave patterns were being influenced by the infant’s as well as the other way round.
This time, both infants and adults became more synchronised to each other’s brain activity when mutual eye contact was established. This occurred even though the adult could see the infant at all times, and infants were equally interested in looking at the adult even when she looked away. The researchers say that this shows that brainwave synchronisation isn’t just due to seeing a face or finding something interesting, but about sharing an intention to communicate.
To measure infants’ intention to communicate, the researcher measured how many ‘vocalisations’ infants made to the experimenter. As predicted, infants made a greater effort to communicate, making more ‘vocalisations’, when the adult made direct eye contact – and individual infants who made longer vocalisations also had higher brainwave synchrony with the adult.
Speaker gaze increases information coupling between infant and adult brains
When infants and adults communicate, they exchange social signals of availability and communicative intention such as eye gaze. Previous research indicates that when communication is successful, close temporal dependencies arise between adult speakers’ and listeners’ neural activity. However, it is not known whether similar neural contingencies exist within adult-infant dyads. Here, we used dual-electroencephalography to assess whether direct gaze increases neural coupling between adults and infants during screen-based and live interactions. In Experiment 1 (N=17), infants viewed videos of an adult who was singing nursery rhymes with (a) Direct gaze (looking forward); (b) Indirect gaze (head and eyes averted by 20 degrees); or (c) Direct-Oblique gaze (head averted but eyes orientated forward). In Experiment 2 (N=19), infants viewed the same adult in a live context, singing with Direct or Indirect gaze. Gaze-related changes in adult-infant neural network connectivity were measured using Partial Directed Coherence. Across both experiments, the adult had a significant (Granger)-causal influence on infants’ neural activity, which was stronger during Direct and Direct-Oblique gaze relative to Indirect gaze. During live interactions, infants also influenced the adult more during Direct than Indirect gaze. Further, infants vocalised more frequently during live Direct gaze, and individual infants who vocalized longer also elicited stronger synchronisation from the adult. These results demonstrate that direct gaze strengthens bi-directional adult-infant neural connectivity during communication. Thus, ostensive social signals could act to bring brains into mutual temporal alignment, creating a joint-networked state that is structured to facilitate information transfer during early communication and learning.