Social referencing in infants of mothers with symptoms of depression

Martha Pelaez, Javier Virues-Ortega, Tiffany M. Field, Yalda Amir-Kiaei, Gabriel Schnerch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study examined the acquisition of social referencing skills in infants of mothers with symptoms of depression (n= 44). We aimed to determine if a short discrimination training could facilitate infants' social referencing. Mothers were instructed to pose either joyful or fearful facial expressions to cue infants' approach/avoidance responses toward an ambiguous object. Maternal expressions were correlated with pleasant or unpleasant events occurring after the infant's response. The results showed that after the intervention, infants looked at their mothers more frequently and reached or avoided the ambiguous object based on the preceding maternal expression. The results suggest that discrimination training procedures can establish social referencing in infants of mothers with symptoms of depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)548-556
Number of pages9
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Volume36
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Discrimination training
  • Early social development
  • Facial expression
  • Infant
  • Social referencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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