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29 July 2021


Dr Ellie Smith from the BabyPaL Project has recently published a new paper from her PhD at the Lancaster Babylab in Infant Behavior and Development, titled: "Infants Oscillatory Frequencies change during Free-Play".

The present research sought to explore the inverse obstacle of artificial play paradigms whereby researchers question how much these paradigms relate to reality; causing us to ask the question of how much insight are we able to gain by taking an utterly unconstrained interaction approach?

We measured spontaneous EEG in 6-month-old babies while they freely interacted with their mothers.

Increased alpha and theta oscillatory power was found when the infants played independently or when they interacted with their mothers (in a number of ways). Increased power was found frontally and in parietal regions, with larger estimates temporally.

Despite the exploration, and the limitations discussed, of the unconstrained spontaneous approach taken, it was concluded that despite the aim of comprehending parent-infant interactions in naturalistic settings, some constraints are beneficial! Thus, a compromise – allowing the parent-infant dyad to interact freely but constrained within a task – may be a preferable & more advantageous method of naturalistically observing dyad interactions in the future.