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Title: Do helpful mothers help? Effects of maternal scaffolding and infant engagement on cognitive performance
Authors: Clackson, Kaili
Wass, Sam
Georgieva, Stanimira
Brightman, Laura
Nutbrown, Rebecca
Almond, Harriet
Bieluczyk, Julia
Carro, Giulia
Dames, Brier Rigby
Leong, Victoria
Keywords: Social sciences::Psychology
Issue Date: 2019
Source: Clackson, K., Wass, S., Georgieva, S., Brightman, L., Nutbrown, R., Almond, H., … Leong, V. (2019). Do helpful mothers help? Effects of maternal scaffolding and infant engagement on cognitive performance. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 2661-. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02661
Project: M4081585.SS0
Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
Abstract: Infants are highly social and much early learning takes place in a social context during interactions with caregivers. Previous research shows that social scaffolding – responsive parenting and joint attention – can confer benefits for infants’ long-term development and learning. However, little previous research has examined whether dynamic (moment-to-moment) adaptations in adults’ social scaffolding are able to produce immediate effects on infants’ performance. Here we ask whether infants’ success on an object search task is more strongly influenced by maternal behavior, including dynamic changes in response behavior, or by fluctuations in infants’ own engagement levels. Thirty-five mother-infant dyads (infants aged 10.8 months, on average) participated in an object search task that was delivered in a naturalistic manner by the child’s mother. Measures of maternal responsiveness (teaching duration; sensitivity) and infant engagement (engagement score; visual attention) were assessed. Mothers varied their task delivery trial by trial, but neither measure of maternal responsiveness significantly predicted infants’ success in performing the search task. Rather, infants’ own level of engagement was the sole significant predictor of accuracy. These results indicate that while parental scaffolding is offered spontaneously (and is undoubtedly crucial for development), in this context children’s endogenous engagement proved to be a more powerful determinant of task success. Future work should explore this interplay between parental and child-internal factors in other learning and social contexts.
ISSN: 1664-1078
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02661
Rights: © 2019 Clackson, Wass, Georgieva, Brightman, Nutbrown, Almond, Bieluczyk, Carro, Rigby Dames and Leong. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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