Child-infant interaction: a micro-analysis

Greville-Harris, Gillian (1986). Child-infant interaction: a micro-analysis. PhD thesis The Open University.



Thirty-two children were video-recorded in face-to-face interaction with 10 month old infant partners. The child sample comprised equal numbers of two age groups (4 & 7 years), two experience levels (with & without baby siblings) and the two sexes. The sample of babies was similarly balanced for sex and experience with older siblings. The dyadic interactions were subjected to frame-by-frame analysis.

The speech and behaviours of the children were classified according to a category system pertaining to the speech style, Motherese, and the caregivers' repertoire of behaviours. Social-approach behaviours and number of responses to babies' overtures were also noted. A sample of mothers interacting with their infants was included in the analysis to provide a source of comparison with the children.

The babies' behaviours were classified according to the number of vocalizations and social-approaches made.

The emergence of child-infant interaction skills is discussed, with special reference to the evolution of the speech style, Motherese, and the caregivers' repertoire of behaviours. The different aspects of interaction - speech style, behaviours, approaches and responsiveness, were found to vary in the child as a function of age, sex and experience with a baby sibling.

Social-approach behaviours in the baby were found to vary according to experience with an older sibling. There was no variance in the babies' behaviours due to sex.

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