What is it about?

We identify clusters (types) of infants who exhibit similar behavioral profiles during face-to-face communication with their mothers at 4-months old. The clusters are based on variation in the intercept and the auto-correlation function of infant gaze, facial affect, vocal affect, and head orientation—coded from videotape at a 1-s temporal resolution. We showed that these types were related to infant temperament and infant attachment. One of the most interesting things about the paper is that we identified new forms of infant affective dysregulation: sustained negative vocal affect, associated with degree of attachment disorganization; random vocal affect, associated with attachment resistance; and random facial affect and vocal affect, irrespective of positive/negative valence, associated with infant difficult temperament.

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Why is it important?

Whereas prior studies of mother–infant interaction have generally used a variable-centered approach to associate face-to-face communication with psychosocial outcomes, here we use a person-centered approach. Because the clusters predicted social outcomes, the behavioral profiles of the clusters provide greater differentiation in our concepts of what may constitute problematic infants. Thus, these behavioral profiles, that describe different types of infants, may be useful behavioral markers of clinical risk.

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This page is a summary of: Profiles of infant communicative behavior., Developmental Psychology, June 2019, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/dev0000745.
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