While a parent and a child are gazing each other, enormous
amounts of social information are exchanged in an unconscious manner.
That is, reading of the face allows new emotion to emerge, which appears
on your own face and affects the other; these interactions continue
without cease. Bidirectional interactions are thought to play important
roles in the development of child's sociality.
Special activities in the brains while mother and her child with
autism spectrum disorder are gazing each other have been discovered by
the research team of Kanazawa University together with the research team
of Osaka University.
‘Special brain activities while mother and her child with autism spectrum disorder are gazing each other have been discovered. This could be a big step in explaining development of child's social brain.’
The teams used a very special equipment based on
magnetoencephalography (MEG) to make three scientifically important
- Brain activities upon gazing each other are low in the case of child with serious autism spectrum disorder.
- While the activities in child's brain with autism spectrum disorder are low, the activities in mother's brain are also low.
- When mother makes a movement such as nodding in response to her child, the activities in mother's brain are high.
This study was able to be performed thanks to the equipment
development. MEG can detect electrical activities of the brain in a
non-invasive and hence non-harmful manner, by the utilization of
superconducting sensor technology, with very high time and space
The researchers have developed an MEG for a child (only one
copy in Japan). Furthermore, a very special equipment has been
constructed, based on the MEG for a child as above, which can be used
for an adult and a child simultaneously, the equipment available only in
Kanazawa in the world.
Simultaneous measurements of brain activities while mother and child
are gazing each other by the current study are expected to be a big
step to elucidation of development of child's social brain.
The article describing the research results was published online in Scientific Reports
, an American journal.