Toys and social interaction between infant peers.
Claims that young infants fail to react in a social manner to one another and that toys preempt attention to peers were assessed by comparing the interactions observed between infant peers when they met in the presence of toys versus in their absence. 44 pairs of unacquainted infants (either 10--12 or 22--24 months of age) came with their mothers to an unfamiliar room. Without toys available in the room, infants of both ages more often contacted one another, smiled at and gestured to one another, and duplicated each other's actions. With toys, they showed and exchanged toys and spent more time synchronously manipulating similar play material. The results document that infants as young as 10 months of age are responsive to the person and behavior of an unfamiliar peer and that they are no less responsive than older infants to the social versus nonsocial aspects of a novel setting.
Eckerman, CO; Whatley, JL
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