A cross-cultural comparison of the development of the social smile A longitudinal study of maternal and infant imitation in 6- and 12-week-old infants

Autor(en): Woermann, Viktoriya
Holodynski, Manfred
Kaertner, Joscha
Keller, Heidi
Stichwörter: 3-MONTH-OLD INFANTS; CHILD-CARE; COMMUNICATION; CONTINGENCY; EMOTION; ETHNOTHEORIES; FACIAL EXPRESSIONS; Infant imitation; Maternal imitation; Psychology; Psychology, Developmental; Social smile; SOCIALIZATION; Socio-cultural context; TERM INFANTS; TO-FACE INTERACTION
Erscheinungsdatum: 2012
Volumen: 35
Ausgabe: 3
Startseite: 335
Seitenende: 347
Social smiling is universally regarded as being an infant's first facial expression of pleasure. Underlying co-constructivist emotion theories are the assumptions that the emergence of social smiling is bound to experiences of face-to-face interactions with caregivers and the impact of two developmental mechanisms - maternal and infant imitation. We analyzed mother-infant interactions from two different socio-cultural contexts and hypothesized that cross-cultural differences in face-to-face interactions determine the occurrence of both of these mechanisms and of the frequency of social smiling by 12-week-old infants. Twenty mother-infant dyads from a socio-cultural community with many face-to-face interactions (German families, Munster) were compared with 24 mother-infant dyads from a sociocultural community with few such interactions (rural Nso families, Cameroon) when the infants were aged 6 and 12 weeks. When infants were 6 weeks old, mothers and their infants from both cultural communities smiled at each other for similar (albeit very short) amounts of time and used imitated each other's smiling similarly rarely. In contrast, when infants were 12 weeks old, mothers and their infants from Munster smiled at and imitated each other more often than did Nso mothers and their infants. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 01636383
DOI: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2012.03.002

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