Our lab is engaged in ongoing work aimed at validation of the Welch Emotional Connection Screen (WECS) for infants in the NICU and later at 36 weeks gestational age. The WECS is an instrument created for research and clinical purposes to assess mother-infant/child Emotional Connection and includes measures of Attraction, Vocal Communication, Facial Expression, Sensitivity/Reciprocity, as well as a final clinical decision of emotionally connected (yes/no). Validity was accomplished by establishing convergent validity with other behavioral coding approaches that involved overlapping behaviors coded on the WECS including infant autonomic responses to the Still Face Paradigm.
Currently, our lab is working to validate the WECS for use with mothers and four and five year olds. Filmed observations are being coded for the WECS as well as independently coded in NOLDUS observational software and maternal and infant physiology is being analyzed.