The Social Influences Of Infants

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During the first few months of life, infants’ cognitive ability to recognize facial expressions begins to form. Research has shown that infants can discriminate between basic emotional displays such as happy, sad, surprised, etc. as early as 3-4 months of age (Serrano, Iglesias, & Loeches, 1992). This allows the infants to understand events and emotions expressed by parents and enhances the bond between parent and child. Therefore, recognizing facial expressions is a developmental cognitive ability. The role of familiarity has yet to be studied and it can contribute to an understanding of the social influences of infants’ cognitive abilities and their development of communication skills required in social interactions. Past mother-infant studies showed at 3-4 months old, when presented with expression from their own caregivers, infants were able to recognize and respond to these emotions accordingly (Bigelow, 1998). This suggests that infants are able to comprehend expressions portrayed by an individual whom they interact with the most on a regular basis. Haviland and Lelwica (1987) examined 10 week old infants’ facial responses to mother’s expressions of happy, sad, angry displays. Results showed that infants responded with enhanced reaction to the expressions. For instance, when the mother displayed a sad expression, the infant showed a downward gaze and expressions of anger using facial muscles. Past researchers were also interested in
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