A comparison of observed and reported adult-infant interactions: Effects of perceived sex
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Interactions of 16 adults (eight married couples whose youngest child was less than 2 1/2 years old) with a single actor infant, dressed as either a male or a female, were recorded and analyzed in four categories: direction of gaze, facial expression, physical contact with the infant, and toy used. After the interaction period, a 45-minute interview on child rearing was conducted with each member of the couple. Observed interactions were then compared with interview data. The results support previous studies which show that both male and female parents behave differently toward unfamiliar infants on the basis of perceived sex. However, parents, especially mothers, appeared unaware of their differential treatment of male and female infants. These results suggest subtle sex-typing of infants by adults.
KeywordsYoung Child Social Psychology Facial Expression Interview Data Physical Contact
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