Dyadic Interaction Style and Infant Attention in the Sticky Mittens Paradigm
Previous research has shown that the “sticky mittens” reaching intervention has a positive effect on reaching and object exploration skills. Further, early reaching and object exploration abilities have been shown to have far-reaching, downstream effects on other developmental domains. Although parents play a crucial role in facilitating the sticky mittens intervention, specific parental scaffolding behaviors and dyadic interaction quality have not yet been explored. The goal of this study was to explore the phenomenon of “motionese,” or infant-directed motions, which are exaggerated object-directed motions used by parents that tend to capture infant attention. The results show that some parents time their infant-directed motions more sensitively to their infant’s attentional state than others, leading to more synchronous dyadic interaction between parent and infant. Results provide evidence for three different dyadic interaction styles present at as early as 2.5-3.5 months: symmetrical, asymmetrical, and disruptive.