Dr. Neil Guterman-Led Study Uses AI-Guided Tech to Gain Insights on Father-Baby Interactions
By NYU Silver Communications OfficeAug 25, 2023
While much is known about the role of mother-infant interactions in the home, the role that fathers play in the well-being of their young children is less well understood. With a $20,000 faculty research grant from the Constance and Martin Silver Center on Data Science and Social Equity, a team led by Paulette Goddard Professor and Dean Emeritus Neil B. Guterman is leveraging an innovative language analysis technology to gain new insights into fathers’ role in their babies’ development, as well as potential indicators of child maltreatment risk.
Along with collaborators Drs. Jennifer Bellamy, Aaron Banman, Justin Harty, Dr. Guterman is employing Language Environment Analysis (LENA), an audio processing system guided by artificial intelligence-based models, to analyze over 3,000 hours of audio-recorded interactions between parents and babies in predominantly Latinx and African American families receiving perinatal home-based support in across 19 programs serving the greater Chicago metropolitan area. The researchers have also collected self-reported data from the fathers and mothers about their infants and their relationships with them.
The analysis will examine father-child as well as mother-child interactions, considering factors such as words spoken, baby vocalizations, and reciprocal responses, and explore how these interactions are linked with such factors as the quality of the mother-father relationship, the attainment of the child’s developmental milestones, and physical child abuse and neglect risk.
“Parents’ early verbal engagement in the home is critical to young children’s cognitive development, learning preparedness, and healthy psychosocial development,” said Dr. Guterman. “This funding and the LENA technology have made it possible for us to capture and analyze a large volume of such interactions to further our understanding of fathers’ involvement in their infants’ development. We plan to use these finding to lay the groundwork for larger studies applying data science methods to explore the role of fathers in young children’s development,helping to promote healthful parenting and reduce risk of physical child abuse and neglect.”