Breastfeeding as a functional explanation for the imitation of oral gestures during the newborn period

Kennedy, Siobhan (2012). Breastfeeding as a functional explanation for the imitation of oral gestures during the newborn period Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Kennedy, Siobhan
Thesis Title Breastfeeding as a functional explanation for the imitation of oral gestures during the newborn period
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 67
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Neonatal imitation has been at the centre of much controversy over the past 35 years. Indeed, there has been considerable debate about the potential mechanisms and functions of neonatal imitation. The present study investigates an alternative function of the phenomenon that has not been discussed in the literature to date: that the imitation of oral gestures by newborns serves to facilitate breastfeeding. Two exploratory experiments were run in order to assess this proposal. The first experiment utilised archived imitation data from 31 one-week-old infants who participated in a longitudinal imitation project at the Early Cognitive Development Centre, The University of Queensland. An adapted version of the Breastfeeding Self Efficacy Scale, Short Form (BSES-SF) was also administered retrospectively to evaluate mothers’ breastfeeding experiences. The second experiment used the same measures, however the data were collected concurrently using a new sample of 13 infants and mothers. Two predictions were made. Firstly, it was hypothesised that infants would imitate tongue protrusion and mouth opening gestures. Secondly, it was hypothesised that mothers of infants who imitate oral gestures more frequently will report less difficulty establishing breastfeeding and more confidence in their breastfeeding abilities compared to mothers of infants who imitate less frequently. No evidence for the imitation of oral gestures was found. Results also indicate that there is no relationship between imitation scores and reported breastfeeding experiences. Directions for future research are discussed.
Keyword Breastfeeding
Imitation of oral gestures

 
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Created: Tue, 05 Mar 2013, 10:06:08 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology