Social referencing, according to Bernstein, Penner, Clarke-Stewart, and Roy (2008), occurs in ambiguous social situations when cues are taken from other people to determine appropriate actions. This processes is important in the lives of developing and growing infants, as they are continuously confronted with new and strange situations in their new worlds. These infants often gain information about these situations from their primary care giver, historically the mother. This paper will provide a summary of research relating to social referencing in infants. The foundational work of Saul Feinman will be reviewed. Current research looking at how depression affects social referencing and how fathers are looked to for social cues will also be presented. Feinman: Social Referencing in Infancy Feinman (1982) was one of the first psychologists to detail this phenomenon and in regards to infants. Beginning with a brief overview, he claimed that “social referencing is the hallmark of many psychological theories,” and he cited social comparison, affiliation, conformity, obedience, and modeling as examples (Feinman, 1982, p. 445). Previous research which touched on social referencing was summarized; some research was designed for this purpose, however, much of the cited research investigated other issues, but social referencing was nevertheless observed. Several characteristics of social referencing were listed. First, social referencing was noted to “occur when the individual does not respond directly to stimuli, but converts the sensation into meaning, and reacts on the basis of such interpretation” (Feinman, 1982, p. 446). Secondly, it was stated that an individual’s perception is influenced by others. Third, Feinman (1982) obs... ... middle of paper ... ...rience deficits in socially referred information. It will likely remain a “hallmark” in future theories and developments in psychology. References Bernstein, D.A., Penner, L.A., Clarke-Stewart, A., & Roy E.J. (2008). Psychology (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning. Feinman, S. (1982). Social referencing in infancy. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Journal of Developmental Psychology, 28(4), 445-470. Möller, E. L., Majdandžić, M., Vriends, N., & Bögels, S. M. (2013). Social referencing and child anxiety: The evolutionary based role of fathers’ versus mothers’ signals. Journal of Child and Family Studies, doi:10.1007/s10826-013-9787-1 Pelaez, M., Virues-Ortega, J., Field, T. M., Amir-Kiaei, Y., & Schnerch, G. (2013). Social referencing in infants of mothers with symptoms of depression. Infant Behavior and Development, 36(4), 548-556. doi:10.1016/j.infbeh.2013.05.003
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Infancy involves rapid growth of the brain. This is a time when learning occurs through environmental cues, crying, and most importantly, the mother or other primary caregiver. This early learning or attachment between infants and their mothers or primary caregivers has a significant impact on the infant’s development. A primary caregiver’s ability to connect with an infant has significant developmental outcomes that have an impact on cognition and learning (Snyder, Shapiro, & Treleaven, 2012).
The attachment theory, presented by Mary Ainsworth in 1969 and emerged by John Bowlby suggests that the human infant has a need for a relationship with an adult caregiver, and without a subsequent, development can be negatively impacted (Hammonds 2012). Ainsworth proposes that the type of relationship and “attachment” an infant has with the caregiver, can impact the social development of the infant. As stated by Hammonds (2012), attachment between a mother and a child can have a great impact on the child 's future mental
Although parents may make positive comments about their child, social workers must witness the parent and child interaction as it is a more reliable indicator of the quality of the relationship. Knowledge of Attachment Theory possibly explains what normally happens between the parent and child as children’s behaviour is shaped by the parenting they receive. For example well-cared for children show signs of separation anxiety when parted from their ‘secure anchor’, but calm down on their return, whereas insecure children behave differently, such as not being upset at all (Howe,
... Rosnay, Marc, Joanna Pearson, Caroline Bergeron, Elizabeth Schofield, Melanie Royal-Lawson, and Peter J. Cooper. "Intergenerational Transmission of Social Anxiety: The Role of Social Referencing Processes in Infancy." Child Development. By Lynne Murray. Vol. 79. N.p.: Wiley, n.d. 1049-064. JSTOR. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.
An infant’s initial contact with the world and their exploration of life is directly through the parent/ primary caregiver. As the child grows, learns, and develops, a certain attachment relationship forms between them and the principle adult present in this process. Moreover, this attachment holds huge implications concerning the child’s future relationships and social successes. Children trust that their parental figure will be there; as a result, children whom form proper attachments internalize an image of their world as stable, safe, and secure. These children will grow independent while at the same time maintaining a connection with their caregivers. (Day, 2006). However, when a child f...
Schacter, D. L., Gilbert, D. T., & Wegner, D. M. (2010). Psychology. (2nd ed., p. 600). New York: Worth Pub.
She discovered that when a bond between a mother and a child are broken, the child has a chance of having developmental challenges. In order to discover this, Ainsworth created an assessment technique called the Strange Situation Classification. This would investigate how the bonds between children and their parents varied. The procedure was used to observe the behavior of infants from 12-18 months and comprised of 8 stages, about 3 minutes each: 1) The mother, baby, and experimenter in the room, 2) the baby and the mother alone, 3) a stranger joins the mother and baby, 4) the mother leaves the baby with the stranger, 5) the mother returns and the stranger leaves, 6) the mother leaves the infant alone, 7) the stranger returns to the room, and 8) the mother returns and the stranger leaves. The result of the experiment was the identification of three main attachment styles: secure, insecure avoidant, and insecure ambivalent. This research allowed Ainsworth to conclude that the more “sensitive” a mother is to her child’s feelings and needs, the more securely attached her children are. If a mother were to ignore or lose patience with a child, the child would likely be insecurely attached. This means that the child would either be physically and emotionally independent or would display clingy behavior, but show rejection when communicating. Evidently, this breakthrough was an accomplishment that would bring bigger opportunities for
Structural knowledge about objects and their relationships, along with knowledge of the social world, are all integrated in scripts, which increase in complexity as children develop. These scripts tend to reflect the dynamic characteristics of children’s experiences. According to Bretherton (1991), attachment scripts are the cognitive building blocks of attachment representations. Since scripts are derived from shared social experiences, they are expected to demonstrate a high degree of mutuality. Additionally, since scripts may reveal the underlying cognitive structure of representations, they are also expected to be consistent over time. In light of these expectations, H. Waters and colleagues (e.g., Guttmann-Steinmetz, Elliot, Steiner, & Waters, 2003; Waters & Rodriguez, 2001; Waters, Rodrigues, & Ridgeway, 1998; Waters et al., 2000) developed an assessment of attachment representation involving attachment-relevant
The acquaintance with the surrounding environment is not an easy task for infants. The onset of locomotion not only expands the opportunities for exploration, but brings about a number of novel and ambiguous situations. In order to predict an outcome of a certain action, infants use emotional cues offered by people around them, which represents the process of social referencing. Previous research suggests that the primary cue for social referencing is visual information – facial expressions of excited/allowing or scared/disapproving emotions. Vaish and Striano (2004) in their study examined the effects of the auditory versus visual cues on 12-month-olds behavior in possible threatening situation - visual cliff crossing – inclined table with
In our study, we noticed that early strong and mutually satisfying relationship between infants and caregivers influence their relationship in childhood period. When infants have built strong ties with their caregivers, they feel more comfortable to express their needs and interests to them in childhood. However, when they begin to have more social support, their environment is changed and their protective factors increase. Therefore, social supports are essential to struggle with risk factors as they reduce threatening events, influence the coping strategies of parents, and providing affecting support (Osopsky & Thompson,