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Eye-Contact Helps Communication, Learning with Infants.

ISLAMABAD:Making eye contact with infants helps adults' and babies' brainwaves 'get in sync' with each other which is likely to support communication and learning.

According to a study conducted by University of Cambridge's Baby-LINC Lab to explore whether infants can synchronise their brainwaves to adults too- and whether eye contact might influence this. Their results are published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Brainwaves reflect the group-level activity of millions of neurons and are involved in information transfer between brain regions. Previous studies have shown that when two adults are talking to each other, communication is more successful if their brainwaves are in synchrony, Health news

reported.

The team examined the brainwave patterns of 36 infants (17 in the first experiment and 19 in the second) using electroencephalography (EEG), which measures patterns of brain electrical activity via electrodes in a skull cap worn by the participants. They compared the infants' brain activity to that of the adult who was singing nursery rhymes to the infant.

In the first of two experiments, the infant watched a video of an adult as she sang nursery rhymes. First, the adult whose brainwave patterns had already been recorded was looking directly at the infant. Then, she turned her head to avert her gaze, while still singing nursery rhymes.

Finally, she turned her head away, but her eyes looked directly back at the infant.As anticipated, the researchers found that infants' brainwaves were more synchronised to the adults' when the adult's gaze met the infant's, as compared to when her gaze was averted Interestingly, the greatest synchronising effect occurred when the adults' head was turned away but her eyes still looked directly at the infant.

The researchers say this may be because such a gaze appears highly deliberate, and so provides a stronger signal to the infant that the adult intends to communicate with her.

Dr Sam Wass, last author on the study, said: "We don't know what it is, yet, that causes this synchronous brain activity. We're certainly not claiming to have discovered telepathy! In this study, we were looking at whether infants can synchronise their brains to someone else, just as adults can.

And we were also trying to figure out what gives rise to the synchrony.

"Our findings suggested eye gaze and vocalisations may both, somehow, play a role. But the brain synchrony we were observing was at such high time-scales of three to nine oscillations per second that we still need to figure out how exactly eye gaze and vocalisations create it."

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Publication:Daily the Pak Banker (Lahore, Pakistan)
Date:Dec 11, 2017
Words:425
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