Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development


J. Craig Peery


Twenty first-born infants age three to five rronths, nine males and eleven fenales, were observed and vi deotaped for five minutes with each parent, in order to explore touch and gaze in free-play parent-infant interactions. Gazing behaviors of parents and infants and mutual gazing were rreasured in vivo; touching behaviors were rreasured fran the videotapes of each dyad. For each behavi or, four rreasures were taken: percent of total t:irre, average rate per minute, rrean duration of the behavior, and rrean duration of the intervals between behaviors. The results show that, on the average, parent touch and gaze were typical of parents at play with infants: frequent short touches and frequent long gazes. The infants look back at parents much less often, typical of infants whose parents are trying to get their attention. The data show unique response patterns depending on the sex of the infant and parent. Both rrothers and fathers use touch with boys, but not girls, as an instrurrental attention getting technique , touching rrore when the infant looks less often. M:lthers show a rrore canplex response than fathers, probably learned fran their greater caretaking experience. Touching to girls is related only to the parent's own attention, seeming to be a !!Ore expressive response. Yothers, but not fathers, increase their ix gaze reciprocally with girls ' gaze but not toys'. These unique relationships for !!Others and fathers with sons and daughters nay be the beginnings of differential sex-typed socialization. MJthers and fathers of the sane infants show very different behaviors, often negatively correlated, indicating that they may have developed a:rnplernentary relationships with their infants.