The development prior to term age of very prematurely born newborns' responsiveness in en face exchanges
Very-low-birthweight newborns were assessed at 29-30, 31-32, 33-34, and 35-36 weeks postconceptional age in simulated en face interactions with an 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. The development of attention and distress patterns of behavioral responsiveness was contrasted for higher versus lower biological-risk newborns. At the younger ages, the newborns seemed to respond with distress (eye closing) to all forms of social stimulation, with the higher risk newborns showing more pronounced distress from as early as they could be tested. More differentiated responsiveness emerged around 33 weeks postconceptional age, when both higher and lower risk newborns began to respond with increased attention to talking in motherese while continuing to show distress when tactile stimulation was combined with talking. Risk-group differences in attention emerged later (35-36 weeks), with higher risk newborns showing more attention to talking, perhaps as a result of differences in habituation processes. © 1995.
Eckerman, CO; Oehler, JM; Hannan, TE; Molitor, A
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