caregiver-infant interactions

  • AO1:
  • Reciprocity and interactional synchrony:
  • From birth, babies and their mothers (or other carers) spend a lot of time in intense and pleasurable interaction. Babies have periodic 'alert phases' and signal they are ready for interaction, which mothers respond to around 2/3 of the time (Feldman and Eidleman). Two people are said to be 'synchronised' when they carry out the same action simultaneously. Interactional synchrony can be defined as 'the coordination of micro-level behaviour' (Feldman). It takes place when mother and infant interactions in such a way that their actions and emotions mirrir the mother.
  • Meltzof and Moore observed the beginnings of interactional synchrony in infants as young as 2 weeks old. An adult displayed one of three facial expressions or one of three distinctive guestures and the child's response was filmed. An association was found between the expression/gesture and the action of the child. Synchrony provides the necessary foundation for the mother and infant connection which can be built upon in subsequent years. Isabella et al observed 20 mothers and infants together and assessed the degree of synchrony and the quality of mother-infant attachement. The researchers found that high levels of synchrony were associated with better quality mother-infant attachment (e.g the emotional intensity of the relationship). 
  • From around 3 month reciprocal interaction tends to be increasingly frequent, when each person responds to the other and elicts a response from them. It involves close attention to eachothers verbal signals and facial expressions. Brazelton et al

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