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Mothers who recognize others' happiness are more responsive to their infants in first months of life

By Jessica A. Stern, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Psychology, University of Virginia
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Eyes wide, a baby reaches for a toy. Her caregiver, sensing her interest, brings the toy within her grasp.

“Ga!” the baby exclaims, and her caregiver responds, “Yes!”

When the baby fusses, her caregiver rubs her back until she calms. The baby smiles, and her caregiver smiles back, in a moment of what psychologist Mary Ainsworth called “mutual delight.”

This is the dance of an infant and responsive caregiver. These “serve-and-return”…The Conversation


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