Becoming a parent requires new skills and frequent task switching during daily childcare. Little is known about the paternal brain during the transition to fatherhood. The present study examined intrinsic neuronal network connectivity in a group of first-time expectant and new fathers (total N = 131) using amygdala seed-based resting-state functional connectivity analysis. Furthermore, we examined the association between paternal involvement (i.e. hours spent in childcare and real-time push notifications on smartphone) and connectivity within the parental brain network in new fathers. There were no significant differences in functional connectivity between expectant and new fathers. However, results show that in new fathers, time spent in childcare was positively related to amygdala connectivity with the supramarginal gyrus, postcentral gyrus and the superior parietal lobule-all regions within the cognition/mentalizing network that have been associated with empathy and social cognition. Our results suggest that fathers' time investment in childcare is related to connectivity networks in the parental brain.
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© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press.
- paternal involvement
- resting-state functional connectivity