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Infants attend longer to controlling versus supportive directive speech

Gerson, Sarah ORCID:, Weinstein, Netta ORCID:, Paulmann, Silke and Gattis, Merideth ORCID: 2019. Infants attend longer to controlling versus supportive directive speech. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 187 , 104654. 10.1016/j.jecp.2019.06.007

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Directive communications play a critical role in infants’ and young children’s daily routines as they are regularly guided by close others. An extensive literature describes two ways of directing action: autonomy support and control. These motivational qualities are thought to be especially important to development as they shape well-being, learning, and exploration. The way in which such motivations are communicated through tone of voice may be especially important for preverbal infants, who respond to tone more than words. Currently, there is little understanding of what role these motivational qualities expressed through tone of voice play in directive speech. To fill this gap in our understanding, we conducted an experiment with 39 infants ranging in age from 9 to 12 months. Infants were presented with validated directive phrases previously recorded by current day-care staff members in autonomy-supportive or controlling tones. Results showed that infants attended longer to controlling tones than to autonomy-supportive tones, evidencing their ability to discriminate between motivational qualities at this early age. Implications for early learning and well-being are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0022-0965
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 June 2019
Date of Acceptance: 8 June 2019
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 21:37

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