The effect of skin tot skin contact on neuroaffective state in neonates
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The present study compared the emotional state of 12 healthy full term neonates, between 42 and 74 hours of age, during skin-to-skin contact (SSC) and during mother-infant separation (MIS). Assessment of state was done by means of frontal EEG asymmetry. Based on modern attachment theory, it was expected that during SSC infants were in a more positive emotional state than in MIS. Based on the approach/withdrawal model of emotion, EEG asymmetry was predicted to be relatively left-sided during SSC and right-sided during MIS. Contrary to this hypothesis, this interaction between place and frontal region was not found. However, two novel findings were reported: More power was found during MIS compared to SSC. This together with the finding that babies cried more in MIS, could reflect more arousal/distress. More power was found in the right frontal region compared to the left frontal region. This might reflect right hemispheric specialisation for dyadic processing of nonverbal attachment communications between mother and infant.