Joint games synchronize the activity of the brain of parents and children, scientists from Princeton University (USA) have found. In their opinion, this fact is associated with the effect of learning through communication, reports Psychological Science.
It is known that babies learn to interact with the world around them already in the first months of life - they notice that adults react to crying, and thus attract attention to themselves. This process is accompanied by the formation of stable neural connections.
The authors of the new scientific work decided to study this mechanism more closely. They recruited several volunteers to raise children between 9 and 15 months of age. Their brain activity was monitored using functional spectroscopy in the near infrared region. The method shows to which part of the organ at a certain moment the blood rushes.
During the experiment, parents played with their children with toys, read aloud to them and talked to them. It turned out that the brain activity of the parent and the child was synchronized during play to a greater extent than during reading and speaking. The most pronounced effects were in the prefrontal and parietal cortex.
The prefrontal cortex is responsible for learning, mastering new skills and speaking. The scientists hypothesized that the synchronization they discovered is important for the acquisition of new skills in early childhood. Interestingly, similar neural activity is observed in songbirds who sing in duets and monkeys watching each other.
Scientists have previously discovered that living in isolation shrinks the brain. The study involved polar explorers who had been in isolated conditions of the scientific station for several months.