The role of neonatal imitation in the development of early bonds and the experience of parental efficacy

Barker, Megan (2012). The role of neonatal imitation in the development of early bonds and the experience of parental efficacy Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Barker, Megan
Thesis Title The role of neonatal imitation in the development of early bonds and the experience of parental efficacy
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2012-10-10
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Virginia Slaughter
Total pages 74
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary The notion of an innate capacity for imitation, arguably signified by neonatal imitation, has been the subject of passionate debate for the last 35 years. Although it is widely accepted that neonates match tongue protrusion (TP) gestures, disagreement persists regarding the mechanism and function of neonatal imitation. Given that neonatal imitation has been proposed to be a primitive mechanism that evolved to elicit and maintain early interactions to serve interpersonal and communicative functions, we argue that imitative exchanges between newborns and caregivers foster a strengthened bond and sense of parental efficacy. Using archived imitation footage collected at one week of age, Experiment 1 retrospectively explored the relationship between neonatal imitation and the early maternal bonds and feelings of efficacy (N = 29). Experiment 2 investigated this relationship concurrently, measuring the development of paternal, as well as maternal, bonding and efficacy (N = 13). Although no evidence for TP imitation at a group level was found in either experiment, some infants showed evidence of neonatal imitation and we analysed the data on this premise. There was no relationship between imitative TP and maternal bonding and efficacy in either experiment, and no association between TP imitation and paternal bonding or efficacy in Experiment 2. Fundamental limitations of the study are addressed and the implications are discussed, highlighting recommendations for future research.
Keyword Neonatal imitation
Development of early bonds
Parental efficacy

 
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Created: Thu, 21 Feb 2013, 19:56:00 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology