Chapter

6 Parent–Infant Communicative Interactions in Cultural Context

Developmental Psychology

II. INFANCY AND EARLY CHILDHOOD

  1. Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda1,2,
  2. Lulu Song3

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop206006

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Tamis-LeMonda, C. S. and Song, L. 2012. Parent–Infant Communicative Interactions in Cultural Context . Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 6:II:6.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Center for Research on Culture, Development and Education, Department of Applied Psychology, New York, New York, USA

  2. 2

    New York University, New York, New York, USA

  3. 3

    New York University, Center for Research on Culture, Development and Education, New York, New York, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

Abstract

In this chapter, we examine the sociocultural context of infant development, with primary emphasis on parent–infant communicative interactions. We focus on the cultural context of development as societies (and local communities) around the world have different sets of views and practices around raising children. We focus on infancy, as it involves rapid brain growth and impressive achievements in language and social communication. We focus on parent–infant communicative interactions because infants' social experiences occur primarily within the family setting and interactions with family members are a core conduit for sharing culture. We begin with five starting principles that guide our thinking on cultural similarities and differences in parent–infant communicative interactions. We then show how the everyday settings and activities of families—referred to as daily routines—frame the types of communicative interactions that parents have with their young. We next describe cultural variations in three aspects of parent–infant communicative interactions: modes of communication (i.e., language, gaze, touch, gesture), parents' communicative accommodations to infants (i.e., support of infants' expressions and understandings), and the content of interactions (i.e., the functions and topics of communications). We conclude with take-home messages and next steps in the study of parent–infant interactions in cultural context.

Keywords:

  • parent–infant interactions;
  • communicative development;
  • language development;
  • culture;
  • family context