loading page

Infrared thermal imaging as a potential tool for investigating early social interaction: a developmental perspective
  • +2
  • Sarah Nazzari,
  • Fatemeh Darvehei,
  • Ellie Jensen,
  • Anastasiia Samoukina,
  • Livio Provenzi
Sarah Nazzari
University of Pavia

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Fatemeh Darvehei
University of Pavia
Author Profile
Ellie Jensen
University of Pavia
Author Profile
Anastasiia Samoukina
University of Pavia
Author Profile
Livio Provenzi
University of Pavia
Author Profile

Abstract

The co-regulation of biological stress systems within the parent-infant dyad plays an important role in the development of infant stress regulation, affecting several physical and psychological processes across the lifespan. Infrared thermal imaging (ITI) allows to capture cutaneous temperature modulations under the control of the autonomic nervous system in a non-invasive and ecological manner. Here, we discuss potential applications of ITI to investigate dyadic autonomic responses in parent-infant interactions. We systematically review studies assessing infant or parent-infant facial temperature during social exchanges. Four studies were retrieved with sample sizes ranging from 10 to 18 and children’s ages ranging from 2 to 42 months. Initial evidence suggests that facial thermal variations are sensitive to social challenges early in life and that ITI can detect patterns of dyadic autonomic synchrony. Albeit preliminary, findings outline the potential of ITI as a new tool for the ecological investigation of autonomic regulatory processes in early interactions.