Gaze Behavior of Normal and High-Risk Infants during Early Interactions

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27 Scopus citations


This study compares the gaze behavior of normal and high-risk infants during face-to-face interactions with various social partners and social stimuli. Early interactions of term infants and preterm infants with respiratory distress were observed. The infants were filmed during interactions with their mothers, fathers, preschool-age siblings, infant peers, an infant-size Raggedy-Ann doll, and a mirror. Gaze behavior differences appeared to be a function of the varying amount of stimulation provided by the social interaction partner. Fathers were most active verbally, followed by mothers, siblings, and infant peers. The infants showed less gaze aversion with the moderately active partner (the mother) than with the minimally active partners (sibling and peer) or the excessively active partner (the father). All infants showed less gaze aversion during the doll and mirror interactions. The preterm infants gaze averted more than the term infants in all interaction situations except the mirror and doll. Their more frequent gaze aversion may relate to less developed information processing or arousal modulation abilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-317
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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