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Child Dev. 1984 Jun;55(3):772-81.

The use and effectiveness of maternal scaffolding in mother-infant games.


Maternal behaviors within mother-infant games were examined to determine the amount, type, and functional value of maternal helping behaviors. 17 mother-infant pairs were videotaped on monthly visits from 8 to 16 months as they played 5 separate games. 2 of these games, roll the ball and peekaboo, were analyzed in terms of "rounds" of each game. Results show that dyads play more rounds of both games in the first months that infants perform game-relevant behaviors (e.g., returning a ball, performing uncovering or covering-uncovering). Maternal attention-getting and physical "stage-setting" behaviors occur in the early rounds of both games. In roll the ball, maternal hands-out and reinforcement behaviors increase in the months after the child begins to return the ball, while the percentage of rounds in which dyads play nonreturn variants decreases. Infants are more likely to return a ball when mother holds out her hands than when she does not. Infants are also able to perform returning or uncovering in game contexts before they perform similar behaviors in cognitive tests. The general similarity of findings in the peekaboo and roll-the-ball games, in spite of differences in the amounts of scaffolding, attention-getting, stage-setting, and reinforcement behaviors between the 2 games, indicates that the types and functions of maternal helping behaviors may be generalizable to other contexts of mother-infant interactions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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