Maternal sensitivity and infant neural response to touch: an fNIRS study

Data de publicação
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Citações (Scopus)
Mateus V.
Osorio A.
Miguel H.O.
Cruz S.
Sampaio A.
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© 2021 The Author(s).The mother's attunement to her infant's emotional needs influences her use of touching behaviors during mother-infant interactions. Moreover, maternal touch appears to modulate infants' physiological responses to affective touch. However, little is known about the impact of maternal sensitivity on infants' touch processing at a brain level. This study explored the association between maternal sensitivity when infants (N = 24) were 7 months old and their patterns of cortical activation to touch at 12 months. Brain activation was measured using functional near-infrared spectroscopy. Changes in oxy-hemoglobin (HbO2) and deoxy-hemoglobin (HHb) concentrations were measured in the left somatosensory cortex and right temporal cortex while infants received two types of tactile stimulation - affective and discriminative touch. Results showed that a lower maternal sensitivity was associated with a higher HbO2 response for discriminative touch over the temporal region. Additionally, infants of less sensitive mothers tended to present a higher response in HbO2 for affective touch over the somatosensory region. These findings suggest that less sensitive interactions might result in a lower exposure to maternal touch, which can be further related to infants' neural processing of touch.
Assuntos Scopus
Brain , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Infant , Maternal Behavior , Mother-Child Relations , Mothers , Touch , Touch Perception
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