Maternal behavior predicts infant neurophysiological and behavioral attention processes in the first year

Margaret M. Swingler, Nicole B. Perry, Susan D. Calkins, Martha Ann Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

We apply a biopsychosocial conceptualization to attention development in the 1st year and examine the role of neurophysiological and social processes on the development of early attention processes. We tested whether maternal behavior measured during 2 mother-child interaction tasks when infants (N = 388) were 5 months predicted infant medial frontal (F3/F4) EEG power and observed attention behavior during an attention task at 10 months. After controlling for infant attention behavior and EEG power in the same task measured at an earlier 5-month time point, results indicated a significant direct and positive association from 5-month maternal positive affect to infant attention behavior at 10 months. However, maternal positive affect was not related to medial frontal EEG power. In contrast, 5-month maternal intrusive behavior was associated with infants' task-related EEG power change at the left frontal location, F3, at 10 months of age. The test of indirect effects from 5-month maternal intrusiveness to 10-month infant attention behavior via infants' EEG power change at F3 was significant. These findings suggest that the development of neural networks serving attention processes may be 1 mechanism through which early maternal behavior is related to infant attention development in the 1st year and that intrusive maternal behavior may have a particularly disruptive effect on this process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-27
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume53
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Keywords

  • Attention
  • EEG power
  • Infancy
  • Maternal behavior
  • Neural networks

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