PSYA02 Jan 28, 2013
Again, humans are pathetic. Our babies are one of the worst for being able to defend
themselves. However, we have made it as far as we have because we are extremely
Want relationships, gain power through connections, need contact to feel loved
This starts at birth. It is bi-directional – maternal instinct and the babies’ physical
Sucking … both for food or for comfort
Cuddling … comfort seems to signal security (Harlow’s work)
Looking … eye to eye contact to initiate interactions
o Eye to eye contact seems to form an extremely strong bonds between
human to human, and even animal to human
Smiling … the best reward of parenting? (5 weeks)
Crying … Teaching parents through negative reinforcement
o Originally, babies cry because they need stuff. Eventually, they learn to
cry because they want something.
Maternal instinct is a weird thing: it takes a long time for babies to start reciprocating
their mother’s love. It takes a while for babies to start smiling in response to their
mothers, until then it seems like all attention comes from the mother. Other animals
would abandon their babies for this lack of attention.
While some human parents do abandon their children, for the most part humans
have adapted to remain with their children, to carry on their genetics.
The wire monkey was uncomfortable and cold but could provide nourishment. The soft
cloth monkey was more cuddly and warm, providing comfort. It ended up that the baby
monkey would mainly stay attached to the cloth monkey because the comfort was
stronger than the need for food, as the baby monkey would only visit the wire monkey
for short periods of time.
The monkey will still go to the cloth
monkey, even when the cloth monkey
hurts them because that need for
comfort is so strong it surpasses the
fear of pain and punishment.
[Type text] PSYA02 Jan 28, 2013
Social Interaction in Infants
Humans generally have asymmetrical faces.
Humans acquire a great deal of social information from the nonverbal cues
provided by others
The human face is a major source of non-verbal cues and babies attend
preferentially to faces almost from birth
Still face experiments
1. The mother interacts with baby as the baby inspects the environment
2. The mother presents a ‘still-face’ (no expression, interaction) to the baby
3. The baby tries to ‘fix’ their mother by providing cues such as smiling, laughing,
pointing, waving hands. When there is no reaction still, the baby becomes
extremely stressed and screeches and goes limp
4. When mother comes back with expression, the baby recovers almost
immediately, smiling and laughing with mother.
a. Mothers hate this test because they know they are causing stress to the