- Created by: Alice1425
- Created on: 13-05-18 17:16
Interactions between caregivers and infants provide an insight into the type and nature of attachment.
Reciprocity is when an infant responds to the actions of another by turn taking.
The actions of the primary caregiver elicit a response from the infant.
The interaction between both individuals flows back and forth.
Meltzoff and Moore (1977) conducted an observational study whereby an adult displayed facial expressions or a hand gesture,
Following the display from the model, a dummy would be removed from the child's mouth and their expressions filmed.
There was a association between the infants' behaviour and that of the adult model, showing reciprocity.
Interactional synchrony takes place when infants mirror the actions or emotions of another person e.g. their facial expressions.
The child will move their body, or carry out the same act as their caregiver simultaneously, and the two are said to be synchronised.
This serves the sustain communication between the two caregiver and infant.
One limitation of research into caregiver-infant interactions is the questionable reliability of testing children.
This is because infants move their mouths and wave their arms constantly, which is an issue for researchers investigating intentional behaviour.
Therefore, we cannot be certain that the infants were engaging in interactional synchrony or reciprocity, as some of the behaviour may have occured by chance.
This questions the validity of research in relation to reciprocity and interactional synchrony and suggests that psychologists should be cautious when interpreting the findings from research in this area.
There are methodological problems with studying interactional synchrony using observational methods.
There is the possiblity of observer bias where the researchers consciously or unconsciously interpret bahvious to support their findings.
To address this problem, more than one observer should be used to examine the inter-observer reliability of the observations.
Recent research by Koepke et al (1983) failed to replicate the findings of Meltzoff and Moore which suggests that their results of research examining infant-caregiver interactions are unreliable.
A further criticism of Meltzoff and Moore's research is that recent research has found that only securely attached infants engage in interactional synchrony.
Isabella et al (1989) found that the more securely attached the infant, the greater the level of interactional synchrony.
This suggests that that not all children engage in interactional synchrony and that Meltzoff and Moore's original findings may have overlooked individual differences which could be a mediating factor.
Psychologists suggest that caregiver-infant interactions, such as reciprocity, are present from birth and therefore are a product of nature in order to help infants form and maintain an attachment.
However, such innate behaviours do not act in isolation and interact with the environment (e.g. caregivers) to fully apprecaite and understand the complex nature of caregiver-infant interactions.