Good Cultures And Mother-Infant Interaction Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Family, Mother, Infant, Parents, Women, America, United States, Culture

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/12/30

There are many different effects of mother-infant interaction on an infants’ development. Mother-infant interaction is distinct and different from one culture to another. Researchers study mother-infant relationship cross-cultural because it is a universal phenomenon (Bhavnagri, 1984). Mother-infant interaction is the most important and earliest way to infants’ social, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive development (Hirose, Shinoki, & Hamada, 1999). One of the best models to study mother-infant interaction in different cultures is Bronfenbrenner’s model (Bronfenbrenner, 1994), because it is comprehensive and appropriate to any culture. Moreover, it can explain the impacts on infants developing in exact ecological variables in specific cultures. Additionally, Bronfenbrenner’s model can help researchers understand mother-infant interaction by identifying variables in the larger ecological, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem contexts (Bhavnagri, 1984). Mothers’ play and interaction with their infant can be viewed in different ways in different cultures. In some cultures, playing with infant is viewed as a child’s activity, whereas in other countries, parents are viewed as a playing partner (as cited in Lamb, Bornstein, & Teti, 2002). For example, American mothers engage in exploratory play, endorse autonomy, organize social interaction, and interest in outside environment. Moreover, American mothers use toys during play and communication, and encourage self-exploration. On the other hand, Japanese mothers engage in symbolic play and interactive pretense, and play settings and related toys appear during communication and interactions (Lamb, Bornstein, & Teti, 2002). The present paper will explore and compare studies of mother-infant interactions in different cultures and their findings.
Likewise, the study by Caudill (1969) compared the vocalization between 30 Japanese infants and 30 American infants aged from birth to 3-4-months. The objective of the research is to explore why American infants have a greater amount of vocalization. The research found that the main reason is maternal style of mothers. American mothers chat more with infants and have more vocal interactions with children, whereas Japanese mothers lull more with infants and have a more leisurely pace. The other reason is mother’s perception of the infant, American mother wants to learn what the child wants and respond to him/her. The Japanese mother thinks that the infant is extension of herself and she knows what is best for him/her.
On the other hand, there are studies showing that there are no significant differences between American mothers and other mothers in different cultures in mother-infant interaction. Such studies include Lewis and Ban (1973) study, which observed mother-infant pairs of Americans and Yugoslavian for long periods in naturalistic settings. Moreover, the researchers also analyzed data from Dutch, Zambian, and Senegalese mothers and infants. The results showed that there were more similarities than differences between the Yugoslavian and the American subjects. However, the results showed that Yugoslavian mothers are more responsive and play more with their children than American mothers. The study concluded that the Yugoslavian city families are similar to the American city families, because mothers in both cases tend to be working mothers. This study showed that children are alike, and “manifest themselves differentially depending upon the context in which they occur” (p. 23). Likewise, in Bornstein, Cote, Haynes, Suwalsky, and Bakeman, (2012) study, the authors compared infant-mother person-oriented and object-oriented interactions between 118 5.5-months-olds Japanese, Japanese American immigrant, and European American dyads. The study found that Japanese infants respond in object-oriented interactions like their mother, and Japanese American dyads and European American dyads behaved similarly.


Arco, C. M., & McCluskey, K. A. (1981). "A change of pace": An investigation of the salience of maternal temporal style in mother-infant play. Child Development, 52(3), 941-49.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1994). Ecological models of human development. Readings on the development of children, 2, 37-43.
Bhavnagri, N., & ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, U. I. (1984). Mother-infant interactions in various cultural settings.
Bornstein, M. H., Cote, L. R., Haynes, O. M., Suwalsky, J. D., & Bakeman, R. (2012). Modalities of infant-mother interaction in Japanese, Japanese American Immigrant, and European American dyads. Child Development, 83(6-), 2073-2088.
Bornstein, M. H., & O. (1991). Parenting in cross-cultural perspective: The United States, France, and Japan.
Caudill, W. (1969). Tiny dramas: Vocal communication between mother and infant in Japanese and American families.
Hirose, T., Shinoki, E., & Hamada, Y. (1999). Comparison of mother-infant interactions between Japanese dyads and American dyads.
Lamb, M. E., Bornstein, M. H., & Teti, D. M. (2002). Development in infancy: an introduction (4th ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Lewis, M., Ban, P., & Educational Testing Service, P. N. (1973). Variance and invariance in the mother-infant interaction: A cross-cultural study.
Roggman, L. A., & O. (1990). Toddler play in relation to social and cognitive competence.

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