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Title: Parenting stress undermines mother-child brain-to-brain synchrony : a hyperscanning study
Authors: Leck, W. Q.
Azhari, Atiqah
Gabrieli, Giulio
Bizzego, Andrea
Rigo, Paola
Setoh, Peipei
Bornstein, Marc H.
Esposito, Gianluca
Keywords: Cooperation
Human Behaviour
Social sciences::Psychology
Issue Date: 2019
Source: Azhari, A., Leck, W. Q., Gabrieli, G., Bizzego, A., Rigo, P., Setoh, P., . . . Esposito, G. (2019). Parenting stress undermines mother-child brain-to-brain synchrony : a hyperscanning study. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 11407-. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-47810-4
Series/Report no.: Scientific Reports
Abstract: Synchrony refers to the coordinated interplay of behavioural and physiological signals that reflect the bi-directional attunement of one partner to the other’s psychophysiological, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral state. In mother-child relationships, a synchronous pattern of interaction indicates parental sensitivity. Parenting stress has been shown to undermine mother-child behavioural synchrony. However, it has yet to be discerned whether parenting stress affects brain-to-brain synchrony during everyday joint activities. Here, we show that greater parenting stress is associated with less brain-to-brain synchrony in the medial left cluster of the prefrontal cortex when mother and child engage in a typical dyadic task of watching animation videos together. This brain region overlaps with the inferior frontal gyrus, the frontal eye field, and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which are implicated in inference of mental states and social cognition. Our result demonstrates the adverse effect of parenting stress on mother-child attunement that is evident at a brain-to-brain level. Mother-child brain-to-brain asynchrony may underlie the robust association between parenting stress and poor dyadic co-regulation. We anticipate our study to form the foundation for future investigations into mechanisms by which parenting stress impairs the mother-child relationship.
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-47810-4
Rights: © 2019 The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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