"Working out a Pathway: How do infant-caregiver interactions build self-regulation and language moment-to-moment?"
The quality of infant-caregiver interactions is well known to have long-lasting effects on the development of children’s self-regulation and language. Yet the real-time mechanisms through which caregiver and infant behaviors build self-regulation and language day-in day-out are not known. My research aims to uncover the dyad behaviors that moment-to-moment train self-regulation and language by extending infants’ engagement with objects while creating ‘object-word’ mappings. I will present findings across studies indicating that infants’ visual and manual engagement with objects is extended when caregivers coordinate multimodal behaviors around the objects of infant engagement; and infants tend to learn the words for objects of infant everyday play named by mothers. The real-time interplay between caregiver multimodal engagement and infant attention, play, and language specifies the key experiences embedded in early infant-caregiver interactions that build child self-regulation and language.