Mother-Child Physical Contact Pacify Brain

Physical touch is the first communication channel between parents and new born infants (Gallace and Spence, 2009). Human C-tactile (CT) finding was influential in sense of understanding the preference for tactile information with socio-affective relevance (Löken et al., 2012). Knapp (2012) shows the effect of pleasant touch on the emotional experience. Some studies devoted to observation of touch demonstrated that interpersonal touch plays are very important for maintaining health, physical and emotional human well-being (Blackmore et al., 2005, Kutner et al., 2008; Gallace and Spence, 2010).

Another research devoted to romantic couples demonstrated the rise of the intensity of positive emotions and electrodermal activity between interacting individuals (Chatel-Goldman et al., 2014).

Researchers provide evidence on the influence of interpersonal relations on physiological and biochemical effects (Field, 2010). Some EEG studies proved the positive effect of touch therapy on brain mode (Singh and et al., 2014). The most recent studies demonstrated that even hugs with robotics telecommunication medium could lead to positive and relaxed brain condition (Keshmiri et al., 2018).


In my study, I would like to investigate the effect of mother-child hugs based on comparative analysis of the EEG data of mother-child pairs in two conditions:

  • during the body contact (hug),
  • and the absence of body contact (just an eye-contact).

In doing so, I am interested to find the answer on the following question: does mother-child body contact induce any significant difference on the brain activity in comparing with the absence of body contact (just an eye-contact)? My hypothesis is that the results would demonstrate the significant effect on the brain activity to the more relaxed and peaceful condition during mother-child body contact.

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I will conduct the experiment with two groups (between-subjects design).

  • The first group (mother-child pair) will experience hugs during EEG recording – experimental group.
  • The second group (mother-child pair) will be recorded by EEG seating on the distance of one meter, without any body contact (just an eye-contact) – control group.

Each pair of mother-child will be recorded separately. Before the experiment all participants should fill the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A) and the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Disorders (SCARED) questionnaires, which will be analyzed using multiple linear stepwise regression. The extremes will be excluded. The design has got the approval of University Ethical Committee.


The study sample consists of 64 mother-child pairs divided into two groups. All pairs are from full (mother, father), middle-level of income families. All mothers are working full-time. The age of mothers is 27-35 years, children age is 7-12 years (32 boys, 32 girls). The participants are recruited from the local state-supported schools. All participants have signed informed consent. All participants have got gift card 1000 RUR nominal for toys shop Detskiy Mir.

Eeg Nonlinear Analysis

EEG was conducted in a quiet room with soft lighting. EEG electrodes were placed on hild and mother in accordance with international standards for leads 10–20, specifically left and

  • right forehead (FP1, FP2);
  • left and right frontal (F3, F4);
  • left and right central (C3, C4);
  • left and right parietal (P3, P4);
  • left and right occipital (O1, O2);
  • left and right anterior temporal (F7, F8);
  • left and right temporal (T3, T4);
  • left and right posterior temporal (T5, T6).

The left and right earlobe (A1, A2) were used as reference sites. The data was acquired and analyzed using 16-channel EEG (Wireless Digital EEG, ZN16E, Chengdu, China), the EEG with international 10–20 system was used to obtain EEGs in the subjects (Wang, et al., 2016).

In resting state, EEG signals were recorded from each pair of mother-child during the 5 minutes data collection period. EEG data in each interval (180 s) were selected from the 5 minutes collection period and divided into 6 segments with 30s each for nonlinear processing.

After preprocessing the signals, the global field potential (GFP) of these channels will be computed (Lehmann and Skrandies, 1980) for each participant, to carry out statistical analyses.

The GFP associated with the EEG of the individuals to extract the following frequency bands during our analysis:

  • delta (0–4 Hz),
  • theta (4–8 Hz),
  • alpha (8–12 Hz),
  • beta(12–30 Hz),
  • and gamma (30–50 Hz) (Keshmiri et al., 2018).

Statistical Analyses

The analysis is based on a hypothesis that mother-child body contact (hugs) results in a positive effect at the EEG-level of brain activity of the individual participants. To check the normal distribution of data the Kolmogorov–Smirnov test will be conducted. The Wilcoxon rank sum test will be conducted to investigate the difference among the EEG frequency bands of the individuals in the body-contact condition and the absence of body contact.

Expected results

As I expect, the mother-child body contact (hugs) will induce significant difference in brain activity toward the peaceful and relaxed condition in comparing with the absence of body contact.

Alternative hypothesis

In case results would be different from the expected ones, my alternative hypothesis is that there will be no significant difference of brain activity (peaceful and relaxed condition) between control and experimental groups.

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Mother-Child Physical Contact Pacify Brain. (2021, Dec 26). Retrieved from

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