Manuela Lavelli, Dario Galati, Astrella Cascino

La percezione delle espressioni facciali di neonati e lattanti: le madri sono "giudici" esperti?

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This study was aimed to analyze the meaning that mothers with recent vs. past experience of infants attribute to neonates' and infants' facial expressions. Six infants' facial expressions were videotaped at 3 days, 1 and 3 months, in five different eliciting situations. One hundred and thirty-two mothers (66 mothers with children under 3 vs. 66 mothers with children over 12) were asked to judge the videotaped facial expressions in relation to the activation and pleasure/displeasure dimensions, the recognition of the eliciting situations, and the attribution of a verbal label to each expression. Results indicate that neonates' and young infants' facial expressions were more easily interpreted as signals of activation and pleasure/displeasure, rather than as signals of specific emotional states and/or specific eliciting situations. The frequency of correct recognitions of the eliciting situations by the mothers with recent experience of infants was significantly higher than that by the other mothers, but only for the expressions videotaped at 3 months.

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