Date of Degree
Steven J. Ellman
Twenty mothers and their 3-month-old male infants were studied in an attempt to isolate and describe some of the motivational components that contribute to infant gaze. Infants were videotaped in two conditions: playing with mother and playing with a female stranger. The videotapes were then analyzed on a second-by-second basis with respect to infant gaze and a variety of maternal/stranger behaviors. Results show that infants spend more time gazing at the stranger than at mother and that looks at the stranger are of much longer duration. In addition, high levels of infant gaze tend to be associated with facial and vocal expressiveness in the infant's partner, and with the assumption of an intermediate position vis a vis the infant.
These findings are discussed in the context of the infant's growing capacity to discriminate between his mother and others. Since this process points to the existence of memory, it is suggested that by 3 months, gazing in the infant may have a number of motivational components, including previous experience with that object.
Alfasi-Siffert, Goldie, "Mother and Infant at Play: Reciprocity in Gazing Behavior" (1979). CUNY Academic Works.