Few things require more hands-on attention than a young child. And there’s little that’s more distracting than the constant bleeping of our cells phones. When these two things compete for our attention, the results can be sobering. In a new animal-based study published in the journalTranslational Psychiatry, scientists show that distracted parental attention may sometimes have detrimental effects on babies’ development, especially their ability to process pleasure.
The study involved rats, but the implications, says one of the senior authors, could be very relevant for many parent-baby interactions in our technology-obsessed world.
Dr. Tallie Baram, professor of pediatrics and anatomy-neurobiology at University of California, Irvine, and her colleagues used a rat model to study how good but disrupted attention from mothers can affect their newborns. Baram placed some mothers and their pups in modified cages that did not have sufficient material for nesting or bedding. This was enough to distract the mothers into running around looking for better surroundings and end up giving their babies interrupted and unreliable attention. Baram and her team compared the development of newborns raised in this environment to those raised in the normal cages where mothers had enough material to create a comfortable home.
Read more at Time.com…