Infant crying as an elicitor of parental behavior: An examination of two models

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Abstract

Examines 2 models of the compelling nature of the infant cry and its effectiveness in eliciting caregiving behavior. The first model is that of the cry as a releaser of parental behavior. It is suggested that a good fit between the available data and this model depends upon broadening the classical definition of the releaser concept to include motivational factors in a manner advocated by some of the modern ethologists. A model of the cry as an activator of motives of an egoistic or altruistic nature is also examined. This model, based on M. Hoffman's (see record 1976-00559-001) theory of altruistic motivation, contributes to an understanding of both compelling releaserlike effects of the cry as well as the wide variations observed within and between cultures in the nature and extent of caregiver responsiveness. It is further argued that altruistic behavior toward crying infants in particular must be viewed within the specific context of ontogenetic processes that enhance the attractiveness of the young for adult caregivers. (103 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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