Modalities of Infant–Mother Interaction in Japanese, Japanese American Immigrant, and European American Dyads


  • This research was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the NIH, NICHD. We thank H. Azuma, K. Behrens, T. Doherty, N. Okazaki, and M. Sandoval.

concerning this article should be addressed to Marc H. Bornstein, Child and Family Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Suite 8030, 6705 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892-7971. Electronic mail may be sent to


Cultural variation in relations and moment-to-moment contingencies of infant–mother person-oriented and object-oriented interactions were compared in 118 Japanese, Japanese American immigrant, and European American dyads with 5.5-month-olds. Infant and mother person-oriented behaviors were related in all cultural groups, but infant and mother object-oriented behaviors were related only among European Americans. Infant and mother behaviors within each modality were mutually contingent in all groups. Culture moderated lead–lag relations: Japanese infants were more likely than their mothers to respond in object-oriented interactions; European American mothers were more likely than their infants to respond in person-oriented interactions. Japanese American dyads behaved like European American dyads. Interactions, infant effects, and parent socialization findings are set in cultural and accultural models of infant–mother transactions.