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The infant and the distant social object

Dziurawiec, S. (1984) The infant and the distant social object. Infant Behavior and Development, 7 (Supplement 1). p. 100.

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This paper reports 2 studies investigating infant attentional and emotional behaviours towards distant social
objects. In the first study, 3-, 4- and 5- month-olds viewed their mothers and the experimenter for 2 sessions at
physical distances of 90, 270 and 450 cms. Whether the session was contingently interactive or non-interactive in
nature, latency to locate increased with distance and decreased with age. Five-month-olds had comparatively little difficulty locating mother or the experimenter at any distance. For all 3 groups the duration of fixation was
greater to experimenter across distance, but not significantly so at the far distance. Interaction did not make much difference over distance, i.e. the distance effect and the age X distance interaction persisted whether
mother/other were interactive or non-interactive. Infant vocalisation and affect also showed age and distance effects.

In the second study, 4- and 5- month-olds viewed their own mother and a strange mother as "near" and "far" videotaped images. Results indicated that the initial attention of the 4-month-olds to the video-taped images was dominated by distance information. The "far" images of both their own mother and the strange mother received less attention than the "near" images. In addition, attention to other mother was greater than to own mother at both distances, but especially so at the "near" distance. In contrast, 5-month-olds perceived their own mothers as invariant across distance, with almost equivalent attention to both "near" and "far" images.

Results are examined in terms of an improvement in control over attentional processes with age and in terms of the development of the object identity concept.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © 1984 Elsevier Inc.
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