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The co-construction of joint action between mothers and 2-4-month-old infants: the mother's role

The purpose of this longitudinal study was to describe object-centered interactions between mothers and their 2-4-month-old infants, before and during the emergence of reaching and grasping movements. It was hypothesized that when reaching movements emerge at around 3 months, mothers alternate between attention stimulation and reaching stimulation, before joint actions between mother and infant develop around objects. 12 dyads were recorded when infants were 2 months, 3 months and 4 months of age. The interactive sessions lasted 5 min. Three age-appropriate toys the infant could handle were available to the mother. A principal component analysis was performed on verbal and non-verbal maternal behaviours, motor infant behaviours and co-occurrences of those behaviours. The developmental course of prehension in infants when playing with their mother follows similar pathways, as was described when they are observed alone. Mothers appeared to early scaffold prehension skills by verbal and non-verbal means. Moreover, maternal behaviours change according to the infant's behaviour, and conversely, infant's behaviours influence maternal behaviours: mother plays first an active part in joint action, while later on, the infant achieves joint action when motor skills develop. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)