Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Shaping the communicative landscape: The dynamics of infant locomotion and caregiver communication during everyday interactions

Schneider, Joshua (2021) Shaping the communicative landscape: The dynamics of infant locomotion and caregiver communication during everyday interactions. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Download (502kB) | Preview


The acquisition of new motor skills expands infants’ opportunities for interactions with objects and people in everyday life. Recently, researchers have turned their attention to understanding these processes as infants transition from crawling to walking, documenting changes in infants’ locomotor skills and in their engagements with caregivers. Here, we asked how the acquisition of walking shapes caregiver language and gesture input when infants move. Thirty infants were videotaped in the home during everyday activities with their caregivers for approximately 45 minutes. Caregivers were asked to continue activities of their daily routines. We centered each infant’s observational window around the onset of walking and coded the 2-month window around that midpoint. For each session, we identified all bouts of crawling and walking and also coded caregiver communication in the window spanning 5 s before infants initiated a bout of locomotion until the end of the bout. Caregiver language and gesture were identified and categorized at the utterance-level into language containing action verbs that directly encouraged movement (e.g., go, get) or object talk that provided referential information about objects (‘That’s your green frog’); and gesture as movement gestures that directly requested movement (e.g., beckoning with outstretched arms) or show gestures in which caregivers held up an object and directed it in their infants’ field of view. Results showed that walking bouts were consistently and robustly more likely to be paired with language input than their crawl bouts, two to three times as likely to co-occur with action verbs, and three times as likely to co-occur with object talk. Similarly, relative to crawl bouts, bouts of walking were nearly twice as likely to overlap with gesture input than their crawl bouts, more likely to co-occur with movement gestures, and more likely to co-occur with show gestures. These results indicate that the ability to walk co-occurs in time with striking changes in the language and gesture input provided by caregivers. Moreover, these findings suggest a developmental cascade between infant locomotion and caregiver communication.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Schneider, Joshuajls438@pitt.edujls438
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairIverson,
Committee MemberBrownell,
Committee MemberLibertus,
Date: 20 January 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 6 December 2019
Approval Date: 20 January 2021
Submission Date: 6 April 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 50
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Infant locomotion, caregiver communication, developmental cascades
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2021 19:38
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2021 19:38


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item