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Research Interests

[Nadja Reissland Home Page]

Participants in my research are pregnant women & parents and their infants in hospital or at home. Fine-grained audio and video analyses are performed on 4-D ultrasound scans as well as videotaped “natural interactions” such as during play, reading picture books, feeding or vaccinations.

1.     Prenatal Development in relation to maternal stress, depression & health behaviour

Book: Reissland & Kisilevsky (Eds) Fetal Development Research on Brain and Behavior, Environmental Influences, and Emerging Technologies (Springer US 2015 in press)

 Special Issue: Reissland, N. & Hopkins, B. (Eds, 2010). Infant and Child Development, Special Issue: Towards a Fetal Psychology, 19, 1-126. 

a)     Fetal reaction to light and sound
This on-going project funded by the ESRC examines fetal reaction to light and sound stimuli by coding fetal facial movements using the FOMS coding scheme (Fetal Observable movement system, Reissland et al 2011,2012, 2015).

b)    Fine grained movement analysis of fetuses exposed to smoking at 24,28,32 and 36 weeks gestation.  (Reissland et al 2015)

c)     Laterality of fetal behaviour(laterality of self-touch in relation to maternal stress; 2014 & laterality of mouth movements; 2014)

d)    Prenatal evidence of “anticipation”(2013)

e)     Evidence of fetal facial expression of pain/distress (2013)

f)      Fetal yawning (2012)

g)    Fetal facial expressions (2011)

h)    Fetal stress (2010)

2.     Maternal Mood and Infant Emotional Development (funded by the Children’s Research Fund 2003-2005)
In this project, carried out in collaboration with the Department of Child Health, the question of effects of postnatal mood disturbance on the infant’s (3,6,and 9 months old) emotional development is tested longitudinally. The effect of postnatal depression on maternal (verbal, paralinguistic and behavioural aspects) and infant behaviour when reading picture books is tested.

a)     Bi-directional effects of depressed mood in the postnatal period on mother- infant nonverbal engagement with picture books (2010)

b)    The pitch of maternal voice: a comparison of mothers suffering from depressed mood and non-depressed mothers reading books to their infants (2003)

3.     Parent-infant interaction: conversations with a pre-verbal partner
Recent findings are that mothers of premature compared with mothers of babies born at term address their children with more complex language. At two months of age term infants vocalize more compared with premature infants. The simplified register of maternal child-directed speech enhances the frequency of infant vocalizations. Furthermore, maternal speech varies depending on the context. They speak with higher pitch during play compared with non-play situations and they frame the contexts differently, by using different types of speech.

Book: Reissland, N  (2012). The development of emotional Intelligence (Routledge, UK, US Canada)

a)     Teaching a Baby the Language of Emotions: A Father’s Experience(2006)

b)    Turn-taking in early vocal interaction: a comparison of premature and term infants’ vocal interaction with their mothers (1999)

4.     Cradling in relation to maternal pitch
This study concerns the left-side cradling bias and examines whether mothers cradling their infants to the right or left speak with different pitch.

a)     Maternal stress and depression and the lateralisation of infant cradling (2009)

b)    The cradling bias in relation to pitch of maternal child directed language (2000)

Links to Sites of Interest

European Society of Developmental Psychology

International Society for Infant Studies



SRCD Website

[Nadja Reissland Home Page]