Caregiver-infant interactions (Evaluation (Research expplains how…
Infants coordinate their actions with those of the caregiver to form a kind of conversation. Caregivers use the infant's signals to anticipate behaviour and respond accordingly. Caregiver sensitivity lays the foundation for later attachment between caregiver and infant.
Meltzoff and Moore (1977) carried out a controlled observation. An adult displayed 3 different facial expressions and one - hand gesture to see if the infant imitated. Observations were recorded and infant responses judged by independent observers.
Infants as young as 2 or 3 weeks old imitated specific gestures. In a later study, it was found 3-day-old infants showed the same interactional synchrony. The ability to mimic gestures at such a young age suggests that imitation behaviour is not learned but an innate ability.
Real or pseudo-imitation
Plaget (1962) argues true imitation only develops at the end of the first year. Interactional synchrony is response training. This is pseudo-imitation: not conciously translating what they see into a matching movement.
Murray and Trevarthen (1985). 2-month-old infants interacted with their mother via a video monitor in real time. A pre-recorded video tape of their mother was then played meaning the mother's facial and bodily gestures didnt respond to those of the infant.
Infants showed real distress when their gestures did not elicit a meaningful response. this suggests the infant is an active partner in interaction rather than just displaying rewarded responses.
Research expplains how children begin to understand mental states
Meltzoff (2005) developed a 'like me' hypothesis of infant development: first, there is a connection between what an infant sees and imitation; second, infants associate their own acts and underlying mental states; third, infants project their own internal experiences onto thers performing similar acts- leading to a theory of mind.
Behaviour may be an intentional response
Abravanel and DeYong (1991) exposed infants aged 5 weeks and 12 weeks to two object models who showed tongue protrusion and mouth opening/closing. neither age imitated the models. However, 5 week olds did show partial tongue protusions when this behaviour was modelled by an adult, showing that imitation behaviour is a specific response to toher humans.
Problems with testing infant behaviour
Infants' mouths are in fairly constant motion and the expressions tested occur frequently, making it difficult to determine specific imitation from general facial activity. To increase internal validity of their data, Meltzoff and Moore used independent observers to judge the infants' gestures.
Failure to replicate research findings into intentional synchrony
Marian et al. (1996) replicated Murray and Trevarthen's study but found infants couldn't distinguish between real-life interactions and pre recorded videos of their mother, suggesting infants are not actually responding to the adult. However, the problem may lie with the procedure rather than the imitation abilities of infants involved in the study.
Research suggests a relationship between synchrony and attachment
Isabella et al. (1989) found more strongly attached infant-caregiver pairs showed greater interactional synchrony. Infants who imitated a lot from birth had a better quality of relationship at 3 months (Heimann, 1989).
An emotional bond between two people that endures over time. A two-way process leading to behaviours such as clinging and proximity-seeking. Serves the function of protecting an infant.
Any person who provides care for a child such as a parent, grandparent, sibling, childminder.
When interacting with each other people tend to mirror each other's facial and body movements. Emotions as well as behaviours can be imitated.
Where the actions of one partner elicit a response from the other partner. The responses are not neccessarily similar, as in interactional synchrony.