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Social interaction is associated with changes in infants’ motor activity

Abstract : Background: In developmental research, infants are commonly assumed to be early stakeholders in interactions with their caregivers. The tools that infants can use to interact with others vary from visual contact to smiling or vocalizing, and also include motor activity. However, surprisingly few studies have explored how the nature and context of social interactions affect infants' engagement in motor activity. Methods: We investigated the kinematic properties of foot and face movements produced by 11 infants aged between 5 and 9 months during six contrasting dyadic episodes (i.e. passive presence of a stranger or the infant's mother, weak or intense interaction with the stranger/mother as she sings a nursery play song). Results: The infants' face and foot motor activity was significantly reduced during the interactive episodes, compared with the episodes without any interaction, in both the mother and stranger conditions. Furthermore, the level of their motor activity was significantly lower in the stranger condition than in the mother one for some parameters. Conclusion: These results are in line with those reported by previous studies and confirm the relevance of using motor activity to delineate the early forms of interactive episodes in infants.
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Céline Scola, Marie Bourjade, Marianne Jover. Social interaction is associated with changes in infants’ motor activity. Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology, Järfälla: Co-Action Publishing, 2015, 5 (1), ⟨10.3402/snp.v5.28256⟩. ⟨hal-01792671⟩

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