Premature newborns as social partners before term age
Very low birthweight (VLBW) newborns in simulated en face interaction prior to term age were assessed for their behavioral responsiveness to a female examiner who (a) simply maintained an en face position, (b) talked in motherese while maintaining an en face position, or (c) gradually added tactile stimulation to her talking. Talking led to increased eye opening and more time in an attentive state; the addition of touch to talking led to changes suggestive of distress- decreased eye opening and more facial grimacing. The 68 higher biological risk newborns (Neurobiologic Risk Score ≥ 10) showed the same patterns of responsiveness as the 96 lower risk newborns, but in a more exaggerated form. They responded to talking with even more prolonged eye opening and to the addition of touch with even more eye closing and facial grimacing, reflecting, perhaps, their greater reactivity and reduced abilities for self-regulation. © 1994.
Eckerman, CO; Oehler, JM; Medvin, MB; Hannan, TE
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