Baby and adult brains ‘sync up’ during play, finds Princeton Baby Lab

picture of biracial couple playing with baby girl

A study from the Princeton Baby Lab reveals new insights into brain development related to social and communication development. In the study, researchers recorded brain activity (safely!) for both babies and an adult during face-to-face interactions. They found that “during the face-to-face sessions, the babies’ brains were synchronized with the adult’s brain in several areas known to be involved in high-level understanding of the world — perhaps helping the children decode the overall meaning of a story or analyze the motives of the adult reading to them.” Findings also suggested that the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for a wide range of functions like planning and decision-making, may be more active in infancy than previously thought. Researchers also noted a “feedback loop” occurring between the baby and the adult, where each seemed to predict and influence the other’s actions during the interaction.


Read more about the study and its results here:


The ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manual (ESPM) describes core knowledge and role-specific competencies needed for early intervention service provision, incorporating current research and evidence in the field of early intervention. To access the ESPM, CLICK HERE.

This resource is related to the following ESPM knowledge-level competencies:

  • CK2: The role of primary social and emotional relationships as the foundation for early learning.
  • CK4: The range of typical infant/toddler physiological factors such as early neurological/brain development, basic health and nutrition, and physical growth and maturation.
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