The multimodality of infant's rhythmic movements as a modulator of the interaction with their caregivers

Children’s rhythmic movements during the first year of life have a significant predictive validity for subsequent communicative development. Nevertheless, their function in adult-child interactions is still less explored. 

A recent study examined if children’s rhythmic movements are significantly reacted by adults and also explored the function of multimodality and object-use in this procedure. 

22 dyads of 9-month-olds and their parents in natural play interactions were studied. It was seen that the Infants’ multimodal rhythmic movements raised the likelihood of adult responses. Adults showed distinct sorts of responses and significantly heeded the child’s focus of attention.

These results emphasize that as multimodality and the use of objects facilitate shared interactions from the child's focus of attention, they are of major importance to communicative exchanges that occur at the end of the first year of life. Parental responsiveness would promote the children's transition from rhythmically organized manual and vocal behaviors to the articulated control of the speech-gesture system.

These dynamics could reinforce communicative development by encouraging joint attention frameworks.

Further research describing the relationship between rhythmic movements, adult's responses and the emergence of the first words is necessary, to clarify the role of such movements on early language development.

Source: Moreno-Núñez A, Murillo E, Casla M, Rujas I. The multimodality of infant's rhythmic movements as a modulator of the interaction with their caregivers. Infant Behavior and Development. 2021;65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2021.101645.

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