First Relatonships

ED209 Child Development - First Relationships

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  • Created by: Nadine
  • Created on: 23-09-11 11:46


Infants Psychological Needs.  Born ready to focus on people and experience others.

TREVARTHEN - Early monnths of infants life is fine tuned to face-to-face interaction with mother.

COHN & TRONICK - Still-faced studies showed protest and wariness when mother shows depressed expression.

  • Babies are designed to learn
  • predisposed to look towards people
  • Development linked to interaction between people and environment

In many cultures babies have more than one carer however there is still a limited number hence dyadic realtionships.

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Introduction 2

Roots in Freud's psychoanalytic theory - Early childhood important for adult development. Focus Oedipal phase (3-5 years).  KLEIN suggests important from birth.  Both subjective interpretation which isn't generally accepte by psychologists however still influential.

Relationships involve mental representations, internal models about thoughts on another person.  Psychoananalytic theory suggests we handle intense feelings by projection (locating our own feelings within them).

Infant behaviour interpreted in light of carers motives, wishes and needs.

Tendency to overestimate intential capacity of child and importnat to note that carers thoughts towards child are important.

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Adult - Infant realtionships fit in and integrate.

Turn-taking in conversation - photo conversations meshing - Adult fits around infant called pseudo-dialogue.

BRAZELTON & CRAMER - even young child active in interaction.

Meshed interaction - important part is letting child participate - called relatedness - Allows infant to form representation of behaviour of both parties - seen in still-faced studies.

Burst-pause pattern of feeding - KAYE & BRAZELTON - pause in infant sucking - mother jiggles - once stopped infant resumes - conversation like.

Face-to-face play - KAYE & FOGEL - development of meshing. 6 wks - no control, random, practically reactive.  13wks - packages occur, most reactive but some proactive.  26wks - clustered, reactive-proactive balanced.  Mother modify.

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Meshing 2

Mother frames - allowing more infant proactivity along time.  Psuedo dialougue becomes proto-dialogues (interactive).

Baby talk is motherese, make easier for infant to learn.

  • Repetition - simple and short
  • Raised pitch - exageratted expressions
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Imitation - context of cognitive ability.  Make up pseudo-dialogues.

MORAN et al - Mother more likely to imitate 1yo baby, baby imitate if anticipatory imitation - sensitive to baby behaviour.

PAWLBY - Mother imitate 4-10mths baby.  Baby progress: 4-6mths - facial imitation, 6-8mths - sound and hand imitation, 8mth - Actions with objects.

Baby learns:

  • Effective behaviour leads to predict response.
  • Familiar response from mother, develop relatedness, early theory of mind.

TREVARTHEN - termed primary intersubjectivity - interactions of interpersonal events (imitation), sensitivity an awareness of sensitivity from mother.  Secondary intersubjectivity  interactions with objects - joint attention/action beyond realtionship to environment.

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Mother can tutor child on what to do with objects.

BRUNER - mothers aid language aquisition by involving in joint action formats, simplified and stereotyped actions with objects.

Scaffolding - structure of interactions to transmit knowledge.  Has adult control to improve progress.

BRUNER - book reading action format - mother comments on book, 4 types of utterance in fixed order, uses rules.

NEWSON & NEWSON - infant visual behaviour - mother supports visual tracking 4wk baby, sustained looking experience.

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Scaffolding 2

WOOD et al: behaviour that support

  • Modelling - showing
  • Cueing - indictaing next move
  • Raising the ante - encouraging next step

Linked to VYGOTSKY - thought rooted in actions, internalisation - ZPD is effective scaffolding

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BRADLEY - babies alert 1.5-3 hours which is 1/4 -1/2 of awake time.  Major task is soothing distressed child therefore many mother negative experience.

OAKLEY - Feelings of mothers

  • Angry/Violent - 70%
  • Feeding problems - 73%
  • Babycare harder than thought - 77%
  • Not enough sleep - 100%

WALKER-ANDREWS - Under 1mth baby can differ happy/angry/suprised/sad.  Reactions may be coping mechanism to contain emotions.

Meshing, Imitation, Scaffolding and Containing - relatedness to mother - build internal model for first relationship and basis for future relationship.

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Psychoanalytic View

KLEIN - mental model vital for mother-infant attachment and future relationships.

KLEIN - Object-Relations Theory - 2-3mo can't relate objects (good breast/bad breast) - sees them as part-objects to cope with negative aspects.

  • Introjection - mental rep of objects
  • Projection - Own feelings about others
  • Dominant mode is paranoid-schizoid position
  • Depessive position - positive/negative feeling to mother - understand not everthing is good. Source of good/loving relationship to others.

KLEIN - inflential but critisised, can't be tested

STERN - critic - babies can't divide good/bad. only pleasure vs less pleasure.  Instead consistant/rounded thoughts of mother.

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Some models see child as passive - shaped by experience.

Transactional model - child as active in development.  Assumed culturally universal and vital.

SCHIEFFELIN & OCHS - critic - culture context and view points not all the same so nor can development be.

Paradox of familiarity - strong contrast in cultures - New Guinea see child as child, no eye contact, baby is unable to be anything.

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Other Themes


  • Difficulties in testing the very young - babies not awake/alert for long.


  • Prepared at birth to interact - Nativist.  Social understanding constructed.


  • Transactional models used - range of social interactions


  • Meshing, Imitation, Scaffolding & Containing. 
  • KLEIN's - Object-realtions theory
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