Neural synchrony in mother-child conversation with fNIRS

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Neural synchrony in mother-child conversation: Exploring the role of conversation patterns.

Abstract
Conversations are an essential form of communication in daily family life. Specific patterns of caregiver-child conversations have been linked to children’s socio-cognitive development and child relationship quality beyond the immediate family environment. Recently, interpersonal neural synchronization has been proposed as a neural mechanism supporting conversation. Here, we present a functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) hyperscanning study looking at the temporal dynamics of neural synchrony during mother-child conversation. Preschoolers (20 boys and 20 girls, M age 5, 07 years) and their mothers (M age 36.37 years) were tested simultaneously with fNIRS hyperscanning while engaging in a free verbal conversation lasting for four minutes. Neural synchrony (using wavelet transform coherence analysis) was assessed over time. Furthermore, each conversational turn was coded for conversation patterns comprising turn-taking, relevance, contingency, and intrusiveness. Results from linear mixed-effects modeling revealed that turn-taking, but not relevance, contingency, or intrusiveness predicted neural synchronization during the conversation over time. Results are discussed to point out possible variables affecting parent-child conversation quality and the potential functional role of interpersonal neural synchronization for parent-child conversation.

PMID: 32591781 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2020 Jun 15;:

Authors: Nguyen T, Schleihauf H, Kayhan E, Matthes D, Vrtička P, Hoehl S

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