Maternal neural reactivity during pregnancy predicts infant temperament
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Maternal biological systems impact infant temperament as early as the prenatal period, though the mechanisms of this association are unknown. Using a prospective, longitudinal design, we found that maternal (N = 89) amplitudes of the late positive potential (LPP) in response to negative stimuli during the second, but not the third, trimester of pregnancy predicted observed and physiological indices of temperamental reactivity in infants at age 4 months. Maternal LPP was positively associated with observed infant fear and negatively associated with frontal EEG asymmetry and cortisol reactivity in infants at age 4 months. Results identify a putative mechanism, early in pregnancy, for the intergenerational transmission of emotional reactivity from mother to infant.
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