Parenting interventions have proven to be effective in enhancing positive parenting behavior and child outcomes. However, the neurocognitive mechanisms explaining the efficacy remain largely unknown. We tested effects of the Video-feedback Intervention to promote Positive Parenting and Sensitive Discipline (VIPP-SD) on mothers’ neural processing of child faces. Our primary focus was on the N170 and the secondary focus on the LPP. We expected the intervention to enhance the amplitudes of both ERP components in response to emotional compared to neutral faces. A total of 66 mothers visited the lab for two identical sessions separated by 4.28 months (SD = 0.86) during which a random 33% of the mothers received the VIPP-SD. During both pre- and post-intervention sessions, mothers’ electroencephalographic (EEG) activity in response to photographs of children’s neutral, happy and angry facial expressions were acquired. In contrast to our expectations, we found smaller (less negative) N170 amplitudes at post-test in the intervention group. There was no intervention effect on the LPP, although overall LPP amplitudes were more positive for neutral and angry compared to happy faces. Our study shows that the N170 is affected by the VIPP-SD, suggesting that the intervention promotes efficient, less effortful face processing. Trial registration: Dutch Trial Register: NTR5312; Date registered: 3 January 2017.
- face processing