ERIC Number: ED059796
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1972-Feb
Reference Count: 0
Early Determinants of Reactions to the Unfamiliar. Final Report.
Bronson, Gordon W.
The early development of wariness toward unfamiliar persons and novel objects is examined. Data are based upon the reactions of 32 infants who were repeatedly observed, over the age period 3 to 9 months, as they responded to the near approach of a stranger, and to a variety of new objects. Signs of wariness toward unfamiliar persons began to appear during the fourth month of life, and became increasingly frequent in the second half of the first year. In the second six months of life, the conditions of an encounter strongly affected the incidence of wariness provoked by the stranger (e.g., whether the infant was in mother's arms, or was picked up by the stranger), and by these ages various aspects of an infant's interpersonal history had begun to determine the quality of his response. At all ages the novel objects promoted mainly exploratory interest, and only at 9 months did some minimal signs of wariness appear. Detailed consideration has been given to the parameters affecting reactions to the unfamiliar, including the temperament of the infant, the qualities of the unfamiliar stimulus, the nature of the encounter situation, and the age and experiential history of the infant. It is tentatively concluded that toward the latter part of the first year infants may be entering a period in which the quality of their environment is important in determining their future social orientation. (DB)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC. Bureau of Research.
Authoring Institution: Mills Coll., Oakland, CA.