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Child Dev. 2010 Mar-Apr;81(2):540-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01414.x.

Mother-infant interaction during the first 3 months: the emergence of culture-specific contingency patterns.

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Faculty of Human Sciences, Culture, Learning and Development, University of Osnabrück, 49069 OOsnabrück, Germany.


This study analyzed German and Nso mothers' auditory, proximal, and visual contingent responses to their infants' nondistress vocalizations in postnatal Weeks 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12. Visual contingency scores increased whereas proximal contingency scores decreased over time for the independent (German urban middle-class, N = 20) but not the interdependent sociocultural context (rural Nso farmers, N = 24). It seems, therefore, that culture-specific differences in the modal patterns of contingent responsiveness emerge during the 2nd and 3rd months of life. This differential development was interpreted as the result of the interplay between maturational processes associated with the 2-month shift that are selectively integrated and reinforced in culture-specific mother-infant interaction.

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