Image of the Day: In Sync
Image of the Day: In Sync

Image of the Day: In Sync

At playtime together, parents’ brain activity mimics that of their infant children.

Jan 3, 2019
Carolyn Wilke

ABOVE: Infant and parent wearing EEG caps
KAILI CLACKSON, CC-BY

When infants play with toys, their brains buzz with spurts of high-frequency activity accompanying their early attempts at paying attention. Using electroencephalography (EEG) researchers watched the brain activity of parents playing with them and found that the parents’ brain activity tracked that of the children’s attention patterns, researchers reported December 13 in PLOS Biology. The study suggests that a parent’s brain response echoes the child’s because when they’re playing together, the parent tracks where the child is looking. 

S. Wass et al., “Parental neural responsivity to infants’ visual attention: How mature brains influence immature brains during social interaction,” PLOS Biology, doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.2006328, 2018.