Relations between cyclicity and regulation in mother-infant interaction at 3 and 9 months and cognition at 2 years

Ruth Feldman, Charles W. Greenbaum, Nurit Yirmiya, Linda C. Mayes

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75 Scopus citations


This report addresses the relation between early interactive rhythms as determined by microanalysis and later toddler cognition. Thirty-six mother-infant dyads were videotaped in free play at 3 and 9 months. Mother and infant attentive states were recorded on an attentive-affective scale in .25s intervals and analyzed using time-series techniques. Synchrony between time-series of mother and infant was examined with cross correlations. At 2 years children were tested with the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. A stochastic-cyclic organization of the infant's attention at 3 months (a pattern reflecting some degree of oscillation between attentive states) predicted general and verbal IQ. At 9 months, organized but not cyclic infant play predicted general IQ. Two measures of maternal regulation at 3 months, mother synchrony with the infant assessed by microanalysis and maternal regulation assessed globally, predicted visual IQ. The temporal organization of infant social attention was individually stable from 3 to 9 months and had concurrent and long-term correlations with mother-infant synchrony. Results are discussed in terms of information processing, the relations of biological, social, and cognitive regulatory mechanisms, and the associations between self- and mutual regulation during the first year and cognitive competence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-365
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1996

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Levine Center for Child and Adolescent Development, Rothchild Foundation Fellowship, and by the Arrane Foundation. Correspondence and requests for reprints should be sent to Ruth Feldman, Department chology, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel 52900.


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