Tid: Onsdag 12 mars 2014, kl. 15:00-17:00
Plats: C307, Södra huset, Frescati

Postseminarium äger rum direkt efter seminariet i institutionens pentry.

The aim of the research presented in this paper was to study the factors affecting touch behaviour in mother-child dyadic interactions from infancy. Touch is the largest of the sense organs and more highly developed at birth that the other sense organs of hearing, vision, taste and smell. Yet it should be noted that touch behaviour does not develop in isolation. This research was therefore aimed at constructing a touch and co-occurring behaviour coding (TCBC) system to measure touch in conjunction with other nonverbal behaviours such as facial direction, facial expression and interpersonal distance that co-occur with touch in mother-child dyadic interactions.. For this purpose, a new coding system is reported in this paper that was not only developed but also standardized by testing it for its reliability and validity. The data-set on which the coding system drew consisted of 20 mother-child dyads whose interaction was videotaped when the children in the study were three months old and then again when they were nineteen months of age (Keller & Chaudhary, 2003). This video-taped mother-child data was then analysed using statistical techniques such as mixed ANOVAs, repeated measure ANOVAs, paired t-tests and independent t-tests. The detailed coding system produced on the basis of observations of the sample above was then taught to independent coders who learnt the system on the basis of exemplar videos and then coded randomly selected five-minute samples of the same videos. A number of touch categories were created based on these observations. In addition, a set of factors affecting touch behaviour were also examined, including: touch agency, child age, child gender, child birth order, maternal age, maternal education, maternal occupation and touch location.

The results of our study show that factors such as touch agent, child age, touch types, maternal education have a significant effect on touch frequency and touch duration in mother-child interactions. Other factors such as child gender, child birth order, maternal age and maternal occupation did not, however, appear to affect touch behaviour significantly in the mother child dyads studied. This research establishes the link between touch and other nonverbal behaviours as they affect maternal touch behaviour in mother-infant interactions. Factors such as facial direction and facial expression are shown to have a significant effect on touch frequency while the nonverbal factor of interpersonal distance did not significantly affect touch frequency in mother-child interactions.

The current study is a first-time study in a non-western cultural context with extended longitudinal data consisting of video-taped mother-child dyadic interactions. It contributes towards filling the gap in the literature relating to the postnatal development of touch by offering a thorough and accurate coding-system to measure touch behaviour and other co-occurring behaviours. Certain crucial interactional profiles of touch behaviour in infancy and toddlerhood are suggested in this research that could open up avenues for further research within a cross-cultural frame.


Hatice Zora