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Parental Reflective Functioning and the Neural Correlates of Processing Infant Affective Cues

Yale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
Taylor & Francis
Publication Date:
Soc Neurosci
Volume Number:
Issue Number:
Soc Neurosci. 2017 Oct;12(5):519-29.
PubMed ID:
EEG/ERP, infant cries, Parental reflective functioning, infant faces
Appears in Collections:
UL1 RR024139/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
R01 DA026437/DA/NIDA NIH HHS/United States
P01 DA022446/DA/NIDA NIH HHS/United States
U54 EB005149/EB/NIBIB NIH HHS/United States
T32 MH018268/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
Generated Citation:
Rutherford H.J.V., Maupin A.N., Landi N., Potenza M.N., Mayes L.C. Parental Reflective Functioning and the Neural Correlates of Processing Infant Affective Cues. Soc Neurosci. 2017 Oct;12(5):519-29. PMID: 27253222. PMCID: PMC6141989.
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Parental reflective functioning refers to the capacity for a parent to understand their own and their infant's mental states, and how these mental states relate to behavior. Higher levels of parental reflective functioning may be associated with greater sensitivity to infant emotional signals in fostering adaptive and responsive caregiving. We investigated this hypothesis by examining associations between parental reflective functioning and neural correlates of infant face and cry perception using event-related potentials (ERPs) in a sample of recent mothers. We found both early and late ERPs were associated with different components of reflective functioning. These findings suggest that parental reflective functioning may be associated with the neural correlates of infant cue perception and further support the value of enhancing reflective functioning as a mechanism in parenting intervention programs.