Experiments on Mother-Infant Interaction Underlying Mutual Attachment Acquisition: The Infant Conditions the Mother

  • Jacob L. Gewirtz
  • Elizabeth F. Boyd
Part of the Advances in the Study of Communication and Affect book series (ASCA, volume 3)


The assumption of mutual influence and the instrumental-conditioning paradigm have provided the theoretical bases of an experimental program that we begin to report here. The central assumption is that at the same time a caregiver’s behaviors may be conditioning (reinforcing) responses of her infant, the infant’s behaviors may be conditioning the caregiver’s own responses. Under this conception of mutual learning and reciprocity, mother—infant interactions were manipulated systematically in a contrived situation to highlight critical aspects of the mutual-conditioning process that we have assumed characterize such interchanges in life settings.


Verbal Response Head Turn Oral Expression Verbal Phrase Infant Head 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob L. Gewirtz
    • 1
  • Elizabeth F. Boyd
    • 2
  1. 1.National Institute of Mental Health and University of MarylandBaltimore CountyUSA
  2. 2.NIMH Laboratory of Developmental PsychologyNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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