"Are You Interested, Baby?" Young Infants Exhibit Stable Patterns of Attention During Interaction

Daniel S. Messinger, Naomi V. Ekas, Paul Ruvolo, Alan D. Fogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

The degree to which infants' current actions are influenced by previous action is fundamental to our understanding of early social and cognitive competence. In this study, we found that infant gazing manifested notable temporal dependencies during interaction with mother even when controlling for mother behaviors. The durations of infant gazes at mother's face were positively predicted by the durations of the two previous gazes at mother's face. Similarly, the durations of gazes away from mother's face were positively predicted by the durations of the two previous gazes of the same type. The durations of gazes at and away from mother's face, however, were not predicted by one another. This pattern suggests that infants exhibit distinct and temporally stable levels of interest in social and nonsocial features of the environment. In this report, we discuss the implications of these results for parents, for experimental research using looking time measures, and for our understanding of infants' developing communicative abilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-244
Number of pages12
JournalInfancy
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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