Head of Child and Family Research at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. USA

Mother-Infant Synchrony: From Behaviors to Brains

Short Bio

Marc H. Bornstein holds a B.A. from Columbia College, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University, and honorary doctorates from the University of Padua and University of Trento. Bornstein is past President of the Society for Research in Child Development, and he has held faculty positions at Princeton University and New York University as well as visiting academic appointments in Munich, London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Bamenda (Cameroon), Seoul, Trento, Santiago (Chile), Bristol, Oxford, and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, London. Bornstein is Editor Emeritus of Child Development and founding Editor of Parenting: Science and Practice. He has administered both Federal and Foundation grants, sits on the editorial boards of several professional journals, is a member of scholarly societies in a variety of disciplines, and consults for governments, foundations, universities, publishers, the media, and UNICEF. Bornstein has published widely in experimental, methodological, comparative, developmental, and cultural science as well as neuroscience, pediatrics, and aesthetics.

Mother-Infant Synchrony: From Behaviors to Brains  

Chair: Gianluca Esposito

Co-chair: Marc H. Bornstein

Discussant : Xinyin Chen 


Neural and Genetic Correlates of Family Love

Shinohara K. 
Nagasaki University, Japan

Measuring Co- and Self-Regulation in Child-Caregiver Dyads

Pauen S, Kläger K.
University of Heidelberg, Germany

Brain-to-Brain Synchrony in Caregiver-Infant Interactions

Esposito G1, Bornstein M. H2
1Nanyang Technological University, Singapore & University of Trento, Italy; 2 Institute for Fiscal Studies, UK

Integrative Abstract

Synchrony, the temporal coordination of discrete micro-level signals between dyadic partners, is a mechanism by which the physiology and behavior of mother and child are coordinated into a selective affiliative bond that matures into an enduring attachment. Behavioral synchrony between mothers and their infants has been observed as early as 3-months during face-to-face interactions. A higher incidence of interactional synchrony, marked by shared similar emotions and mutual engagement and turn-taking, is indicative of dyads where partners are sensitively attuned to one another. Mother-child synchrony subserves interpersonal emotional co-regulation which contributes to the child’s emotional self-regulation and adaptive physiological responsiveness to social stress. Symposium presenters analyze the concept of synchrony from behavioral to neural to genetic levels.