Does Mutual Influence Occur During Mother-Infant Social Gaze?

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Forty-nine mothers and their infants were observed when the children were aged 10 weeks, 26 weeks, and 54 weeks. Previous findings have suggested that the partner's gaze state influences the probability of a mother or infant initiating and terminating gazes at the other (Messer & Vietze, 1984; Stern, 1974). However, the methods of analysis used in these studies have a number of shortcomings. This article presents a reanalysis of data which attempts to rectify the previous deficiencies. The findings from the reanalysis suggest that the pattern of dyadic gaze does deviate from that which might be expected by chance, but this deviation only appears to be a marginal influence on the organization of gaze behavior. Thus, it appears that the pattern of mother-infant gaze may largely be a result of the way that each individual organizes his or her own behavior and not the result of interpersonal synchrony.



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