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Dev Psychol. 2008 Nov;44(6):1779-84. doi: 10.1037/a0012665.

Innate intersubjectivity: newborns' sensitivity to communication disturbance.

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School of Psychology, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom.


In most of our social life we communicate and relate to others. Successful interpersonal relating is crucial to physical and mental well-being and growth. This study, using the still-face paradigm, demonstrates that even human neonates (n = 90, 3-96 hr after birth) adjust their behavior according to the social responsiveness of their interaction partner. If the interaction partner becomes unresponsive, newborns will also change their behavior, decrease eye contact, and display signs of distress. Even after the interaction partner resumes responsiveness, the effects of the communication disturbance persist as a spillover. These results indicate that even newborn infants sensitively monitor the behavior of others and react as if they had innate expectations regarding rules of interpersonal interaction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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