James E. Swain, M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.P.C.

I am interested in the brain basis of fatherhood. We are using baby cry and picture stimuli from their own infants in brain imaging experiments to target brain physiology at multiple time points that governs paternal thoughts, behaviors and moods. Our early work demonstrated that father brains respond to own baby cry stimuli in emotion regulation and motivation regions 1 according to caring thoughts and behaviors. We have recently demonstrated that changes in father brain structure are related to mood and parental behavior 2. We reviewed the new and growing field last year 3 and our work will be covered in Scientific American Mind this fall with plans to expand our work to include fathers at risk for depression and different brain imaging modalities at the CHGD with Professors Volling and Tolman.

James E. Swain MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan

  1. Swain JE, Leckman JF, Mayes LC, Feldman R, Constable RT, Schultz RT. Neural substrates of human parent-infant attachment in the postpartum. Biological Psychiatry. 2004;55:153s.
  2. Kim P, Rigo P, Mayes LC, Feldman R, Leckman JF, Swain JE. Neural plasticity in fathers of human infants. Soc Neurosci. 2014;9(5):522-535.
  3. Swain JE, Dayton CJ, Kim P, Tolman RM, Volling BL. Progress on the paternal brain: theory, animal models, human brain research, and mental health implications. Infant Ment Health J. 2014;35(5):394-408.