||Objective. Mothers’ affective responses to infant laughing are
essential in parent-child interaction. This experimental study
examined whether instructing mothers to employ emotion
regulation strategies can change their self-reported, physiological, and facial expressive responses to infant laughing.
Design. Using a within-subjects design, mothers (N = 100,
age M = 30.87 years) were exposed to infant laughing sounds
while receiving enhancement, suppression, and no emotion
regulation instructions. Positive affect, perception of laughing,
intended sensitive and insensitive caregiving responses, skin
conductance level, and facial expressions in response to infant
laughing were measured. Results. Enhancement resulted in
increased positive affect, a more positive perception of the
laugh, more intended sensitive caregiving responses, and,
compared to suppression, fewer intended insensitive caregiving responses. Moreover, enhancement resulted in lower sad
and, compared to suppression, higher happy facial expressivity. In contrast, suppression resulted in a less positive perception. Enhancement did not affect skin conductance level.
Conclusions. Enhancement can have beneficial effects on
mothers’ self-reported and facial expressive responses to infant
laughing in an experimental setting. Enhancement instructions
may be used to increase mothers’ positive feelings in response
to infant laughing and to promote sensitive caregiving behaviors and positive facial expressions, which may benefit affective mother-child interchanges.