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      Emotional Expressions in Grandparent-Infant Grandchild Interaction in the Course of the First Year of Life


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          This longitudinal and naturalistic study aims to describe and compare grandparent and infant emotional expressions that precede, accompany and follow spontaneous imitation in the course of their dyadic interaction. Sixteen Greek, Cretan infants were video-recorded in the course of spontaneous dyadic interactions with grandfathers and grandmothers at home from the 2nd to the 10th month of their life. Microanalyses of grandmothers’, grandfathers’ and infant grandchildren’s emotional expressions within well-defined units of interaction provided the following evidence: (a) Grandparents increased pleasure-interest expression while single pleasure and interest decreased in the course of imitation. Grandparent neutral expression remained stable, at low levels, before, during and after imitation. Grandfathers were more interested than grandmothers and grandmothers expressed more pleasure-interest towards their infant grandchildren, compared to grandfathers; (b) Similar patterns of infant grandchildren’s emotional expressions in interactions with grandfathers and grandmothers provided evidence that infant interest predominated over the remaining expressions before imitation, it decreased in the course of it and it increased after it. Infant pleasure remained stable before and in the course of imitation and decreased slightly after it. Infant pleasure-interest expression increased and neutral expression decreased in the course of imitation. Infants were more neutral in interactions with their grandfathers, compared to grandmothers, particularly in the course of the first age level (2 to 3.5 months); (c) Infant age correlated with certain infants’ and grandparents’ emotional expressions. This evidence reinforces the view that grandparents are communicative partners to their infant grandchildren.

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          Who keeps children alive? A review of the effects of kin on child survival

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            Newborn Infants Imitate Adult Facial Gestures

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              Maternal grandmothers improve nutritional status and survival of children in rural Gambia.

              Hypotheses for the evolution of human female life-history characteristics have often focused on the social nature of human societies, which allows women to share the burden of childcare and provisioning amongst other members of their kin group. We test the hypothesis that child health and survival probabilities will be improved by the presence of kin using a longitudinal database from rural Gambia. We find that the only kin to improve the nutritional status of children significantly (apart from mothers) are maternal grandmothers, and that this is reflected in higher survival probabilities for children with living maternal grandmothers. There is also evidence that the reproductive status of the maternal grandmother influences child nutrition, with young children being taller in the presence of non-reproductive grandmothers than grandmothers who are still reproductively active. Paternal grandmothers and male kin, including fathers, have negligible impacts on the nutritional status and survival of children.

                Author and article information

                Eur J Psychol
                Europe's Journal of Psychology
                Eur. J. Psychol.
                30 August 2013
                : 9
                : 3
                : 531-551
                [a ]Εxperimental High School, Heraklion, Greece
                [b ]Department of Psychology, University of Crete, Rethymnon, Greece
                Author notes
                [* ]University of Crete, Department of Psychology, 74 100 Rethymnon – Gallos, Crete, Greece. kokkinaki@ 123456uoc.gr
                Copyright @

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 16 November 2012
                : 22 April 2013
                Research Reports

                emotional expressions,grandfathers,imitation,grandparents,inter-generational relations
                emotional expressions, grandfathers, imitation, grandparents, inter-generational relations


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