Behavioral and cardiac rhythmicity during mother-father-stranger infant social interaction

Pediatr Res. 1983 Nov;17(11):872-6. doi: 10.1203/00006450-198311000-00007.


In an effort to understand the temporal organization of infant physiologic and behavioral systems during social interaction with adults, spectral and cross-spectral analyses of infant heart rate and mother-father-stranger-infant behavioral data are described herein for a 3-month-old infant during face-to-face social interaction with her parents and a stranger. This infant's heart rate rhythms were stronger during social interaction with both mother and father than with a stranger. Infant behavioral rhythms were associated with (high coherence) the parents' behavioral rhythms, but not with those of the stranger. Furthermore, infant heart rate and infant behavioral rhythms showed high coherence with all three adults. Although these findings are preliminary, based on a case study and need replication, they generate intriguing hypotheses. This technique of studying the rhythmicity of infant social interaction with spectral analysis suggests that the 3-month-old infant's behavior and heart rate are synchronized during interaction with all three adults; however, the infant and adult behavioral rhythms are synchronous only with mother and father and not with an unfamiliar stranger.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child Behavior*
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Fathers*
  • Female
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Mothers*
  • Time Factors