ERIC Number: ED201411
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Maternal Imitation of Their Newborn Infants: Momma See, Momma Do.
Francis, Patricia L.; And Others
Mothers' imitation of their infants during the first 3 days of life is examined in this study. Twenty-four newborn infants (12 males, 12 females) and their mothers participated in the study. On each of the first 3 days following delivery, mother-infant pairs were videotaped in a non-feeding interaction for approximately 5 minutes while the infants were in a predominantly alert state. All videotapes were coded by two independent observers as to the occurrence of three types of maternal imitation: vocal, gestural and visual (i.e., following the infant's gaze). In addition, separate codings were performed to measure infant visual regard towards the mother's face. Results indicated that the present sample of mothers clearly imitated their newborn infants. For example, on average, mothers exhibited 7.79 total imitative acts across the 3 days, with all but one mother imitating their infants during this period of time. Overall, 40% of the observed imitation was gestural, 40% was visual, and 20% was vocal. While on the first day a significant negative relationship was observed between infant visual regard and maternal visual imitation, on the third day analysis revealed infant visual regard to be positively and significantly related to maternal gestural imitation. No significant correlations were observed between infant visual regard and maternal imitation on the second day. These findings suggest that mother-infant interaction is an excellent context for the occurrence of maternal imitation, and that this imitation plays an important role in the interaction process. (Author/MP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Gestures; Vocalization
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Boston, MA, April 2-5, 1981).