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Early Mother-Infant Coordination and Later Language Development in Infants at High and Low Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Northrup, Jessie (2018) Early Mother-Infant Coordination and Later Language Development in Infants at High and Low Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The overarching goal of this research was to describe the development of the dyadic coordination of vocalization and gaze behavior between mothers and infants over the first year of life in infants at heightened vs. low risk for autism spectrum disorder. In addition to describing developmental trajectories of behavior, the study aimed to increase our understanding of how coordination is established and develops by investigating how measures of individual vocal and gaze behavior and their coordination within and across modalities related to one another concurrently and across time, and by relating early interactive behaviors to later language development.

Thirty dyads were recorded playing together with a standard set of toys when infants were 3, 6, 9, and 12 months of age, and mother and infant vocalization and gaze behaviors were coded from these videos on a moment-to-moment basis. Coordination was analyzed using both cross-recurrence quantitative analysis and event-based measures of analysis. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to examine developmental trajectories of vocalization and gaze coordination as well as the multi-modal coordination of these two behaviors.

Results indicated that coordination of the timing of vocalization and gaze behaviors is early emerging and supported by both mother and infant behavior, but that relations between coordination across domains and ages are not straightforward. Furthermore, contrary to expectations, few risk status differences were found, and there was no evidence that early coordination predicted later language development. Taken together, these findings paint a complex picture of how dyadic gaze and vocal coordination develop. Rather than coordination emerging due to individual characteristics of mothers and infants within dyads, the data suggest that coordination emerges as a feature of the larger interaction between infant developmental ability and behavior, mother behavior, and the overarching context of the interaction. The results underscore the importance of understanding mother and infant behavior during social interactions as transactional and multi-modal, and also provide new evidence that coordination of behaviors does not develop in a simple, linear fashion, nor is it driven primarily by parent and infant traits.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Northrup, Jessiejbn12@pitt.eduJBN120000-0001-9863-9352
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairIverson,
Committee MemberBrownell,
Committee MemberCampbell,
Committee MemberShaw, Danieldanielshaw@pitt.ed
Committee MemberMazefsky,
Date: 27 September 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 15 September 2017
Approval Date: 27 September 2018
Submission Date: 12 June 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 137
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: infancy, parent-infant interaction, coordination, vocal development, joint attention, language development, coordination, synchrony, high risk, baby sibling, autism spectrum disorder
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2018 20:05
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2018 20:05

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