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Infants' Greeting Patterns to Strangers

Haviland, Jeannette M.; Lewis, Michael
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute of Mental Health, Facial Expression, Infant Behavior, Sex Differences, Stranger Reactions


Naive observers coded facial behaviors (eye direction, eye open- ness, and mouth) of 40 infants from videotapes of the infant's face and upper torso as the infants watched the approach of a stranger. Patterns of facial movement show that the infants are interested, their eyes remain forward, are slightly wide or normal and the mouth is relaxed. This pattern occurs significantly more often than any other. Indications of fear (mouth contracted or corners down, gaze aversion, eyes very wide) and joy (eyes a bit wide, mouth corners up, looking ahead) were blended with interest, but did not occur in isolation. No age differences were found in this analysis. Sex differences were found in patterns of eye openness. The results were contrasted with previous findings of infant "fear" and were compared to adult reactions in similar stranger approach situations. (27pp.)

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