The Emergence of Social Smiling The Interplay of Maternal and Infant Imitation During the First Three Months in Cross-Cultural Comparison

Autor(en): Woermann, Viktoriya
Holodynski, Manfred
Kaertner, Joscha
Keller, Heidi
Stichwörter: AFFECT ATTUNEMENT; CONTINGENCY; cross-cultural context; DEVELOPMENTAL-CHANGES; EMOTION; FACIAL EXPRESSIONS; infant imitation; maternal imitation; MOTHERS; PERCEPTION; Psychology; Psychology, Social; SENSITIVITY; social smile; SOCIALIZATION; TO-FACE COMMUNICATION
Erscheinungsdatum: 2014
Volumen: 45
Ausgabe: 3
Startseite: 339
Seitenende: 361
The study addresses the emergence of the social smile in two different sociocultural contexts during the first 12 postnatal weeks. We examined different eliciting mechanisms like mutual gazing, maternal smile during mutual gazing, and reciprocal maternal and infant imitation of smiling. In co-constructivist theories of emotional development, all of them are considered social mechanisms that foster the emergence of social smile in early infancy around the 2-month shift. During the 6th postnatal week, we assumed that mutual gazing and the accompanying maternal smiles are the primary mechanisms that correspond with first infants' social smile. From the 2-month shift onward, thus during the 8th, 10th, and 12th postnatal weeks, we assumed maternal imitation of infant smile moderates the positive relationship between infant imitation of maternal smile and the duration of infant social smile. We compared face-to-face interactions between 20 mother-child dyads from an independent sociocultural context (urban middle-class families from Munster, Germany) and 24 mother-child dyads from an interdependent sociocultural context (rural Nso families, Cameroon) when the infants were 6, 8, 10, and 12 weeks old. The first hypothesis could be corroborated for both cultural contexts, the second hypothesis only partly for the independent cultural contexts and staggered for the interdependent context. The consequences of culture-specific developmental pathways of social smile are discussed.
ISSN: 00220221
DOI: 10.1177/0022022113509134

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