Here's looking at you, kid: attention to infant emotional faces in mothers and non-mothers.
Bottom Line: This effect was modulated by parental status, such that mothers compared to non-mothers showed longer response times to infant compared to adult faces.Finally, it was found that greater levels of mothers' self-reported parental distress was associated with less task interference when processing infant faces.We suggest that alterations in attentional processing in motherhood may constitute an adaptive behavioural change associated with becoming a parent.
Affiliation: Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, UK.Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus
Mentions: Age did not significantly correlate with RT to infant (r(64) = .12, p = .37) or adult faces (r(64) = .08, p = .52). There were also no significant correlations between BDI scores and RT to infant (r(64) = −.12, p = .33) or adult faces (r(64) = −.03, p = .83). As PSI was only measured in mothers, correlations between PSI scores and RTs to correct responses were investigated for mothers only. There were no significant correlations between RTs to correct responses for adult faces and the difficult child subscale (r(28) = .181, p = .36) or the dysfunctional interaction subscale (r(28) = .149, p = .45), nor between RTs to correct responses for infant faces and the difficult child subscale (r(28) = −.161, p = .41) or the dysfunctional interaction subscale (r(28) = −.064, p = .75). As shown in Figure4, there was a significant negative correlation between the distress subscale of the PSI and RTs for infant faces (r(28) = −.40; p < .05) but not for adult faces (r(28) = −.017; p = .93). These exploratory correlational analyses suggest that in mothers RTs to infant images are associated with level of parental distress; higher levels of parental distress appear to be associated with less attentional capture by emotional infant faces.
Affiliation: Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, UK.