School of Social and Family Dynamics
Navigation Menu


The neuroscience of parenting is a new initiative for FHDRI. Its goal is to determine how the perspectives and techniques of neuroscience can help inform our understanding of parenting. Parenting is a dynamic, multi-faceted process that involves a diverse array of psychobiological processes, with processes at each level of human functioning affecting processes at every other level of human functioning both in and through time.

Sometimes the parenting process runs smoothly, joyously and productively for both parent and child. At other times it can go awry, resulting in negative behavior and negative consequences for the parent, the child, or both. To understand parenting requires a multi-disciplinary focus with efforts made to integrate data taken at different levels of human functioning in the same setting at the same time.

The techniques of neuroscience have been used to study parents, including changes in brain function that occur during pregnancy and immediately after child birth. These techniques, as well as other techniques used to study biological processes (e.g., EEG, ERP), have helped increase understanding of how particular biological processes are implicated in parenting behavior.

The neuroscience of parenting inititiative is designed to extend the use of these techniques to the study of parent-child relationships with a goal of increasing our understanding of what is happening “in-the-moment” during exchanges between parents and children and what accounts for the character of parent-child relationships through time. In service of this goal we will synthesize information from the biological and behavioral sciences with the aim of establishing an innovative framework for conducting studies that use the perspectives and techniques of neuroscience in ways that advance our understanding of parenting.



T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics
Social Sciences Building, 951 S Cady Mall | P.O. Box 873701, Tempe, AZ 85287-3701
Phone: (480) 965-6978 | Fax (480) 965-6779 | Contact Us newsblast