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Behavioural and physiological markers of Parental Embodied Mentalising: Cultural, gender, and attachment factors (Embodied Attachment)
Start date: Nov 1, 2012, End date: Oct 31, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

parental mentalising, the parent’s capacity to regard the child as a psychological agent (Sharp & Fonagy, 2008), is an important factor predicting attachment security (e.g., Slade et al., 2004).Thus far, all formulations of parental mentalising conceptualise and measure it as verbal, explicit, and reflective capacity (e.g. Meins, 1999; Slade, 2002).Despite their empirical contribution, these approaches are limited in their ability to illuminate the process through which parental mental capacities actually shape the child’s representation of their relationship in terms of attachment security. Shai and Belsky (2011a, b) recently introduced the construct and measure of parental embodied mentalising (PEM), an implicit, body-based, and interactive approach to parental mentalising. A study of 150 mothers interacting with their 6-months-old infants found that the parent’s PEM profile not only predicted the child’s attachment at 15 months over and above established maternal sensitivity measures, but that once PEM variables were accounted for maternal sensitivity was no longer predicted attachment (Shai & Belsky, submitted). However exciting and promising these findings are, they are preliminary and call for further investigation. Using multiple cutting-edge methods, including psychophysiological, behavioural, and self-reports this research scrutinizes four questions: 1) Can PEM be cross-culturally validated such that maternal PEM in an Israeli sample will predict attachment security as in the American sample? 2) What are the behavioural similarities and differences between paternal and maternal PEM? 3) What are the links between behavioural and psychophysiological measures of PEM? 4) How does adult attachment associate with PEM and with child attachment security? This research makes a new contribution to the study of embodiment from an interdisciplinary whole-body movement perspective and will lead to the development of novel therapeutic interventions for parents and infant

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