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Motivated Attention and Reward in Parenting

Ferrey, AE; Santascoy, N; McCrory, EJ; Thompson-Booth, C; Mayes, LC; Rutherford, HJV; (2016) Motivated Attention and Reward in Parenting. Parenting: Science and Practice , 16 (4) pp. 284-301. 10.1080/15295192.2016.1184928. Green open access

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Abstract

Parenting has a significant and lasting impact on child development. From birth, parents must sensitively and appropriately attend to their infant’s emotional expressions and vocalizations. Accumulating evidence indicates that these infant cues of emotion attract more attention than equivalent adult cues in parents as well as non-parents. We review this evidence and suggest that infant cues hold high incentive value and elicit motivated attention (i.e., enhanced processing of motivationally relevant stimuli), which in turn promotes approach motivation and thus caregiving responses. Further, we discuss data suggesting that infant cues are salient for non-parents, with increasing motivated attention to infant cues in the transition to parenthood. This increase may depend on interactions between the dopamine reward system and the neuropeptide oxytocin. Therefore, we also explore the human and non-human data that support this association and consider potential sources of variability in motivated attention in parents.

Type: Article
Title: Motivated Attention and Reward in Parenting
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/15295192.2016.1184928
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1080/15295192.2016.1184928
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Social Sciences, Family Studies, Psychology, Developmental, Psychology, Nucleus-accumbens Oxytocin, Mother-infant Relations, Female Prairie Voles, Maternal-behavior, Emotional Faces, Postpartum Depression, Facial Expressions, Amygdala Response, Intergenerational Transmission, Executive Function
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1524689
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