Infants Oscillatory Frequencies change during Free-Play for Social vs Non-social Interactions

Smith, Ellie and Elliott, David and Killick, Rebecca and Crawford, Trevor and Kidby, Sayaka and Reid, Vincent (2021) Infants Oscillatory Frequencies change during Free-Play for Social vs Non-social Interactions. Infant Behavior and Development, 64: 101612. ISSN 0163-6383

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The ability to investigate neural activity during infancy whilst partaking in social (and non-social) engagement with a caregiver in a naturalistic interaction is a key issue for advancing the developmental sciences. Understanding the neural basis of social interactions will allow us to explore how exposure to atypical parent-infant interactions, which serve as a model for socio-emotional development during infancy, can alter neural development. The current research aimed to observe the oscillatory activity of 6-month-old infants during spontaneous free-play interactions with their mother. A 5-minute unconstrained free-play session was recorded between infant-mother dyads with EEG recordings acquired from the 6-month-old infants (n=64). During the recording, social interactions and non-social behaviours were observed, with EEG assessed with these epochs. Results showed broad increases in oscillatory activity both when an infant played independently or interacted with their mother. As hypothesised, as frequency bands approached alpha and theta, oscillatory power statistically increased. In the present 6-month-old cohort, no hemispheric differences were observed. Instead, differences appeared between electrode regions: frontal and parietal regions bihemispherically displayed similar estimates, which were larger than those observed centrally, whilst temporal estimates were larger and discrete from all other regions. The interactions observed between the behavioural events and frequency bands demonstrated a significant reduction in power comparative to the power observed in the gamma band during the baseline event. The interactions between the frequency bands and electrode locations uncover an increase in power comparative to that seen in the gamma band in the left-central region. The present research sought to explore the obstacle of artificial play paradigms for neuroscience research, whereby researchers question how much these paradigms relate to reality outside the lab. The present work highlights the strengths and limitations of taking an unconstrained free-play approach.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Infant Behavior and Development
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Infant Behavior and Development. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Infant Behavior and Development, 64, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2021.101612
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? mother-infant interactioneegfree-playlinear mixed modelrandom effectdevelopmental and educational psychology ??
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Deposited On:
21 Jul 2021 08:40
Last Modified:
24 Feb 2024 01:04