ERIC Number: ED229152
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: 0
The Effect of Maternal Touching on Infant Social Referencing.
Whether maternal touching of the infant while speaking to him or her about a stranger facilitates or interferes with social referencing is investigated in this study. Thirty-three 10-month-olds received positive or neutral nonverbal messages when their mothers spoke to them about a stranger. Infants whose mothers did not touch them while speaking about the stranger were friendlier to the stranger (but not to the mother) in the positive affect condition than in the neutral affect condition. This effect was especially salient for infants of easier (rather than more difficult) temperament. This pattern of results suggests that infants had connected their mothers' messages with the stranger and engaged in social referencing. But when mothers touched their infants while speaking to them about the stranger, infants were friendlier to the stranger (and to the mother) in the positive than in the neutral condition. The influence of mother's affect was particularly noticeable for infants of easier temperament. Maternal touching may have made the infant less likely to connect the mother's message with the stranger specifically, resulting in a more general mood modification effect rather than in social referencing. (Author/MP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHHS), Rockville, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Social Referencing
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Detroit, MI, April 21-24, 1983).