Suzanne Dikker, Natalie H. Brito, Guillaume Dumas
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Publication year: 2024


Grandparents play a critical role in child rearing across the globe. Yet, there is a shortage of neurobiological research examining the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren. We employ multi-brain neurocomputational models to simulate how changes in neurophysiological processes in both development and healthy aging affect multigenerational inter-brain coupling – a neural marker that has been linked to a range of socio-emotional and cognitive outcomes. The simulations suggest that grandparent-child interactions may be paired with higher inter-brain coupling than parent-child interactions, raising the possibility that the former may be more advantageous under certain conditions. Critically, this enhancement of inter-brain coupling for grandparent-child interactions is more pronounced in tri-generational interactions that also include a parent, which may speak to findings that grandparent involvement in childrearing is most beneficial if the parent is also an active household member. Together, these findings underscore that a better understanding of the neurobiological basis of cross-generational interactions is vital, and that such knowledge can be helpful in guiding interventions that consider the whole family. We advocate for a community neuroscience approach in developmental social neuroscience to capture the diversity of child-caregiver relationships in real-world settings.

Keywords: Multi-brain simulations, Grandparent-child interactions, Inter-brain coupling, Community neuroscience

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.