Infant-parent emotional synchrony during social and non-social play

Fujita, Sayaka and Clackson, Kaili and Georgieva, Stanimira and Wass, Sam and Neale, Dave and Ramchandani, Paul and Leong, Victoria (2019) Infant-parent emotional synchrony during social and non-social play. In: 4th Lancaster Conference of Infant and Child Development (LCICD 2019), 2019-08-21 - 2019-08-23, Lancaster University.

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There is growing evidence that early experience of play is related to various developmental outcomes, the interchange of positive affect is considered a defining feature of infant-parent play, and may potentially be critical for facilitating early positive development. Despite this, we could find no existing studies comparing the expression of positive affect in different play contexts. The present study explored (1) differences in positive affect expression between social (i.e. joint) and non-social (i.e. separated) play, (2) differences between positive and negative emotion mirroring seen during parent-infant play, and (3) the temporal dynamics of emotional mirroring (parent to infant vs. infant to parent). 20 mother-infant dyads (aged 10.4 month) participated in social and non-social play, whilst their emotional expressions were monitored on video. Our results showed that both mothers and infants showed more positive affect and more affect synchrony during social play than non-social play. Regarding the temporal dynamics of emotional responding, mothers tended to follow, rather than lead, their infants’ positive emotional expressions. Further, mothers responded faster to their infants’ positive emotions during social play as compared to non-social play. By contrast, there were no significant differences on any of these measures for negative emotions. These results indicate that different mechanisms may underpin the exchange of positive and negative affect during parent-infant interactions, and different play contexts result in different levels of positive affect, suggesting social context of play may be a crucial factor in determining play’s developmental benefits.

Item Type:
Contribution to Conference (Poster)
Journal or Publication Title:
4th Lancaster Conference of Infant and Child Development (LCICD 2019)
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Deposited On:
15 Jun 2021 15:50
Last Modified:
07 Jul 2024 00:44