[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prediction of events and the creation of expectancies about their time course is a crucial aspect of an infant's mental life, but temporal mechanisms underlying these predictions are obscure. Scalar timing, in which the ratio of mean durations to their standard deviations is held constant, enables a person to use an estimate of the mean for its standard deviation. It is one efficient mechanism that may facilitate predictability and the creation of expectancies in mother-infant interaction. We illustrate this mechanism with the dyadic gaze rhythm of mother and infant looking at and looking away from each other's faces. Two groups of Hi- and Lo-Distress mothers were created using self-reported depression, anxiety, self-criticism and childhood experiences. Lo-Distress infants (controls) used scalar timing 100% of the time, about double that of Hi-Distress infants. Lo-Distress mothers used scalar timing about nine times as much as Hi-Distress mothers. The diminished use of scalar timing patterns in Hi-Distress mothers and infants may make the anticipation of each other's gaze patterns more difficult for both partners.
Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 09/2008; 37(5):293-307. DOI:10.1007/s10936-008-9078-y · 0.59 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Associations of 6-week postpartum maternal self-criticism and dependency with 4-month mother–infant self-and interactive contingencies during face-to-face play were investigated in 126 dyads. Infant and mother face, gaze, touch, and vocal quality were coded second by second from split-screen videotape. Self-and interactive contingencies were defined as auto-and lagged cross-correlation, respectively, using multilevel time-series models. Statistical significance was defined as p Ͻ .05. Regarding self-contingency, (a) more self-critical mothers showed primarily lowered self-contingency, whereas their infants showed both lowered and heightened, and (b) infants of more dependent mothers showed primarily lowered self-contingency, whereas findings were absent in mothers. Regarding interactive contingency, (a) more self-critical mothers showed lowered attention and emotion contingencies but heightened contingent touch coordination with infant touch, and (b) more dependent mothers and their infants showed heightened facial/vocal interactive contingencies. Thus, maternal self-criticism and dependency have different effects on mother–infant communication. We examined associations between 6-week postpartum mater-nal dependency and self-criticism (Blatt, D'Afflitti, & Quinlan, 1979) and 4-month mother–infant self-and interactive contingen-cies during face-to-face play. Despite extensive investigation of maternal depressive symptoms, other forms of maternal distress, such as a personality-based rather than a symptom-based approach to depressive vulnerability, remain understudied. We investigated whether maternal self-criticism and dependency are associated with different patterns of mother–infant communication. We assessed maternal personality with the Depressive Experi-ences Questionnaire (DEQ; Blatt & Zuroff, 1992). This reliable, well-validated self-report instrument distinguishes two profiles: (a) self-criticism, excessive concern with self-worth and achievement, and (b) dependency, excessive concern with maintenance of inter-personal relatedness. These two profiles are distinct in triggering events, nature of depressive experience, and interpersonal behavior (Alden & Bieling, 1996; Coyne & Whiffen, 1995). Despite exten-sive use in the adult literature, this approach is curiously absent in the infant literature. Parenting is affected by excessive concerns with self-definition and relatedness (Priel & Besser, 2000; Thomp-son & Zuroff, 1998), but only a few researchers have used these measures with mothers and infants (Kaminer, 1999; Kaminer, Beebe, Jaffe, Kelly, & Marquette, 2007; Kushnick, 2002; Vliegen & Luyten, 2006). Self-critical individuals, preoccupied with self-definition, are vulnerable to depressive experience with achievement failures.. We are grateful to our students who filmed the mothers and infants and coded the videotapes:
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We propose stochastic models for the interactive regulation of gaze on/off each partner's face in mother/infant gaze as well as “turn-taking”. We infer that a Poisson timing mechanism indeed underlies the negative exponential distributions of gaze, providing a simplifying organizational principle for mother-infant communication, enabling both partners to predict the other's behavior. The Poisson rate constants quantify how likely infant or mother is to gaze on or off in comparison to each other. Mothers are far more likely to initiate gaze than infants, and infants are far more likely to terminate gaze than mothers. Initiation of a gaze “turn” (the individual unilaterally initiates gaze) follows a simple Poisson rule for infants, but mothers initiate a gaze turn with the second occurrence of infants' gaze termination. These turn findings suggest that mothers are using more history than infants in gaze turn regulation. For the infant, all three processes (gaze on, gaze off; gaze turn) are regulated by a Poisson process.