Maternal Into‐The‐Face Behavior, Shared Attention, and Infant Distress During Face‐to‐Face Play at 12 Months: Bi‐directional Contingencies

We describe a new maternal intrusion behavior, moving a toy or hand “into-the-face ” of the infant, and we investigate its bi-directional associations with infant-initiated shared attention, infant distress, and infant gaze, during mother-infant face-to-face play at 12†months. The play was videotaped split-screen, with infants seated in a high chair. Videotapes were coded on a 1-sec time base for mother and infant gaze (at partner, toy, both, or gaze away); infant distress; and maternal intrusion behavior, “into-the-face. ” We defined “infant-initiated shared attention ” as mother and infant looking in the same second at a toy that the infant-initiated interest in. We documented that maternal into-the-face behavior decreased the likelihood of infant-initiated shared attention, increased the likelihood of infant distress, and decreased the likelihood of infant gazing away. Reciprocally, infant distress and gazing away increased the likelihood of mother into-the-face. In moments when the dyad was engaged in infant-initiated shared attention, mother into-the-face was less likely. This work documents bi-directional contingencies in the regulation of maternal intrusion and infant behavior during face-to-face play at 12†months. We suggest that mother into-the-face behavior disturbs an aspect of the infant’s experience of recognition. Copyright © International Congress of Infant Studies (ICIS)

We describe a new maternal intrusion behavior, moving a toy or hand “into-the-face ” of the infant, and we investigate its bi-directional associations with infant-initiated shared attention, infant distress, and infant gaze, during mother-infant face-to-face play at 12†months. The play was videotaped split-screen, with infants seated in a high chair. Videotapes were coded on a 1-sec time base for mother and infant gaze (at partner, toy, both, or gaze away); infant distress; and maternal intrusion behavior, “into-the-face. ” We defined “infant-initiated shared attention ” as mother and infant looking in the same second at a toy that the infant-initiated interest in. We documented that maternal into-the-face behavior decreased the likelihood of infant-initiated shared attention, increased the likelihood of infant distress, and decreased the likelihood of infant gazing away. Reciprocally, infant distress and gazing away increased the likelihood of mother into-the-face. In moments when the dyad was engaged in infant-initiated shared attention, mother into-the-face was less likely. This work documents bi-directional contingencies in the regulation of maternal intrusion and infant behavior during face-to-face play at 12†months. We suggest that mother into-the-face behavior disturbs an aspect of the infant’s experience of recognition. Copyright © International Congress of Infant Studies (ICIS)

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