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Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M. Vera, Y., Gil, K., Diego, M., Bendell, D., & Yando, R. (2005). Anxiety and anger effects on depressed mother-infant spontaneous and imitative interactions. Infant Behavior and Development, 28, 1-9.

• Depressed mothers were assessed for anxiety and anger. Depressed mothers with high and low anxiety were compared and depressed mothers with high and low anger were compared on their spontaneous and imitative interactions with their 3-month-old infants. The high versus low anxiety mothers spent less time smiling, showing exaggerated faces, gameplaying and imitating, more time moving their infants’ limbs, but equivalent amounts of time vocalizing and touching. The infants of high versus low anxiety mothers spent less time smiling and more time in distress brow and crying, but spent equivalent amounts of time on other behaviors (vocalizing, motor activity, gaze aversion and imitation). The high anger versus low anger mothers differed in the same ways that the high anxiety mothers differed from the low anxiety mothers. However, the infants of high versus low anger mothers differed on all behaviors (less time spent smiling, vocalizing, and showing motor activity and imitation and more time spent showing distress brow, gaze aversion and crying). During the imitation versus the spontaneous play sessions the mothers in all groups spent less time smiling, vocalizing, touching and gameplaying and more time showing imitative behavior. The infants also showed increased time in imitative behavior but also increased time spent crying during the imitation sessions.

Coding System

Guthertz, M., & Field, T. (1989). Lap computer or on line coding and data analysis for laboratory and field observations. Infant Behavior and Development, 12, 305- 319.

• Describes two applications of the lap computer and microcomputer for coding and analyzing data collected in the laboratory and in the field. Two research studies using these observation systems are described and are followed by a description of the hardware and software developed for these and other applications. Unlike previous coding devices, the lap- or hand-held computer can store sequential, time-series data for indefinite periods of time, and it can be interfaced with a microcomputer.                                               

                                              Cranial-Facial Anomaly Infants

Field, T. & Vega Lahr, N. (1984). Early interactions between infants with cranio-facial anomalies and their mothers. Infant Behavior and Development, 7, 527- 530.

• The mothers of cranio-facial anomaly infants did not differ in their looking-at-the-infant-behavior, despite their infants’ facial deformity, although the infants themselves looked at their mothers less frequently. Also, the cranio-facial anomaly infants engaged in less frequent smiling and vocalizing than the normal infants. The mothers of the cranio-facial anomaly infants also showed less frequent smiling, vocalizing, imitative behaviors, contingent responsivity, and gameplaying.

Depressed Mothers

Field, T., Healy, B., & LeBlanc, W. (1989). Sharing and synchrony of behavior states and heart rate in non-depressed versus depressed mother infant interactions. Infant Behavior and Development, 12, 357- 376.

• Depressed mothers and their infants shared negative affective behaviors more often and positive behavior states less often than nondepressed dyads. Cross- spectral analyses of the mothers’ and infants’ behavior and heart rate time series suggested greater coherence of mother-infant behavior states in nondepressed versus depressed dyads, greater coherence of infant behavior/ mother heart rate for the nondepressed versus depressed dyads, and greater coherence across partner behavior (mother/infant behavior) than within partner behavior and physiology (mother behavior/heart rate or infant behavior/ heart rate).

Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Vera, Y., Gil, K., Diego, M., & Sanders, C. (2005). Infants of depressed mothers facing a mirror versus their mother. Infant Behavior & Development, 28, 48-53.

• Infants showed more positive behavior (smiling) with their mothers versus the mirror but also showed more negative behavior (gaze aversion, distress brow, and crying) during the mother condition. These differences highlight the infants’ greater affective responses (both positive and negative) to their mother versus the mirror. Equivalent amounts of vocalizing to the mother and mirror suggested that the mirror does not elicit social behavior, with the infants perhaps enjoying watching themselves talk. Group differences suggested that the infants of depressed mothers showed less gaze aversion with their mothers, perhaps because their mothers were less interactive. When in front of the mirror, they vocalized more and gaze averted less than the infants of nondepressed mothers, suggesting that the mirror was particularly effective in eliciting vocalizations in infants of depressed mothers.

Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Diego, M., Feijo, L., Vera, Y., Gil, K., & Sanders, C. (2007). Responses to animate and inanimate faces by infants of depressed mothers. Early Child Development and Care, 177, 533-539.

• Infants of depressed versus non-depressed mothers showed less laughing and more fussing when their mothers were spontaneously interacting, but showed more laughing and less fussing during the mother-imitation condition.

Pelaez, M., Field et al. (2007). Disengaged and authoritarian parenting behavior of depressed mothers with their toddlers. Infant Behavior and Development, 31, 145-148.

• Non-depressed mothers were classified as permissive a greater percentage of time than the group of mothers with depressive symptoms. Toddlers of mothers with depressive symptoms followed their mothers’ instructions for a lesser percent of time, and displayed aggressive play behavior for a greater percentage of time than toddlers of non-depressed mothers.

Father Interactions

Field, T. (1978). Interaction behaviors of primary vs. secondary caretaker fathers. Developmental Psychology, 14, 183- 184.

• Fathers in general tended to engage in more gameplaying and less holding of their infants. Primary caretaker fathers and mothers engaged in more smiling, imitative grimaces and high-pitched imitative vocalizations than did secondary caretaker fathers.

Field, T. (1981). Fathers' interactions with their high- risk infants. Infant Mental Health Journal, 2, 249- 256.

• The high-risk infants were less attentive and less affectively responsive than normal infants, and their mothers were more active. Fathers of both high-risk and normal infants engaged in more gameplaying and laughed more frequently than mothers during interactions. Fathers engaged in similar amounts of activity, smiling, laughing, and playing games with normal and high-risk infants.

Field, T., Vega Lahr, N., Goldstein, S., & Scafidi, F. (1987). Interaction behavior of infants and their dual career parents. Infant Behavior and Development, 10, 371- 377.

• The behaviors of dual-career parents were compared in face-to-face interactions with their 8-month-old infants who attended an all day infant nursery. Mothers, as compared to fathers, exhibited more frequent smiling, vocalizing, and touching with their infants. In turn, the infants spent a greater proportion of the interaction time smiling and being motorically active when they were interacting with their mothers versus their fathers.


Field, T. (1979). Games parents play with normal and high risk infants. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 10, 41- 48.

• Approximately six different games were played for approximately one-third of the interaction time. The high-risk infant-parent dyads engaged in gameplaying less frequently than the normal infant-parent dyads.


Gaze Aversion

Field, T. (1981). Gaze behavior of normal and high- risk infants during early interactions. Journal of the American Academy Child Psychiatry, 20, 308- 317.

• The infants showed less gaze aversion with the moderately active partner (mother) than with the minimally active partners (sibling and peer) or the excessively active partners (the father). All infants showed less gaze aversion during the doll and mirror interactions. The preterm infants gaze averted more than the term infants in all interaction situations except the mirror and doll.

Field, T. (1981). Infant gaze aversion and heart rate during face-to-face interactions. Infant Behavior and Development, 4, 307- 315.

• Infant gaze aversion was greater and tonic heart rate was elevated during the low and high activity interactions. Heart rate accelerations occurred prior to the onset of gaze accelerations and heart rate decelerations occurred during the gaze aversion periods.

Field, T., Vega Lahr, N., Goldstein, S., & Scafidi, F. (1987). Face- to- face interaction behavior across early infancy. Infant Behavior and Development, 10, 111- 116.

• At 8 versus 4 months, infants showed more smiling, vocalizing, and motor activity, and their mothers touched and moved their infants’ limbs more often.


Highrisk Infants

Field, T. (1983). High risk infants "have less fun" during early interactions. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 3, 77- 87.

• High risk infants are less attentive to their mothers and appear to have less fun during early interactions than term, normal infants. Their smiles and contented vocalizations were less frequent, and their frowns and cries were more frequent than those of term, normal infants.

Interaction Coaching 

Field, T. (1977). Effects of early separation, interactive deficits, and experimental manipulations on infant mother face- to- face interaction. Child Development, 48, 763- 771.

• The effects of early separation on infant-mother interactions were investigated. The attention-getting manipulation resulted in more maternal activity and less infant gaze than in a spontaneous interaction, and the imitation manipulation in less maternal activity and more infant gaze.

Field, T. (1982). Interaction coaching for high- risk infants and their parents. Prevention in Human Services, 1, 5- 24.

• Manipulations which effectively diminished the activity levels of these extremely active mothers and enhanced their infants’ visual attention during interaction with their mothers included mother imitation of all infants’ behaviors, repetition of phrases, and silencing during infants’ pauses.


Diego, M., Field, T., Jones, N.A., & Hernandez-Reif, M. (2006). Withdrawn and intrusive maternal interaction style and infant frontal EEG symmetry shifts in infants of depressed and non depressed mothers. Infant Behavior and Development, 29, 220-29.

• The effects of maternal interaction style (intrusive/withdrawn) on the development of brain electrical activity were studied in infants of depressed and non-depressed mothers’ shortly after birth and again at 3–6 months of age. Infants of depressed mothers exhibited significantly greater relative right frontal EEG activation than infants of non-depressed mothers. Infants of depressed withdrawn mothers exhibited greater relative right frontal EEG activation than infants of depressed intrusive mothers.

Peer Interactions

Field, T. (1979). Infant behaviors directed toward peers and adults in the presence and absence of mother. Infant Behavior Development, 2, 47- 54.

• Social behaviors of infants were observed over the course of a semester while the infants played in a university parents’ cooperative nursery. The infants were more “social” and less “negative” toward their peers when mother was out of the room, and they exhibited more social behaviors toward their peers by the end of the semester.

Field, T. & Pawlby, S. (1980). Early face- to- face interactions of British and American working and middle class mother- infant dyads. Child Development, 51, 250- 253.

  • The dyads engaged in equivalent amounts of proximal interaction but varying amounts of distal interaction. Distal interaction behaviors occurred less frequently in working-class dyads. Furthermore, the British dyads engaged in more toy-related games and the American dyads exhibited more socially oriented interactions and games.


Field, T. (1978). The three Rs of infant adult interactions: Rhythms, repertoires, and responsivity. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 3, 131- 136.

• Different studies on early infant-adult interactions, particularly face-to-face and feeding interactions are reviewed. Data suggest that interactions can be facilitated by the modulation of rhythms, modification of response repertoire, and mutual responsivity by both infant and parent.

Field, T. (1987). Interaction and attachment in normal and atypical infants. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55, 1- 7.

• This paper reviews what we know about the relations between early interactions, the “strange situation,” and social behavior in normal and atypical infants, including premature infants, abused or neglected infants, and the infants of depressed mothers.

Still-Face Interactions

Field, T., Vega Lahr, N., Scafidi, F., & Goldstein, S. (1986). Effects of maternal unavailability on mother- infant interactions. Infant Behavior and Development, 9, 473- 478.

• Four-month-old infants were subjected to the mother’s still-face and to a brief separation from the mother. Although the infants became more negative and agitated during both conditions, the still-face was more stressful.

Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Diego, M., Feijo, L., Vera, Y., Gil, K., & Sanders, C. (2007). Still-face and separation effects on depressed mother-infant interactions. Infant Mental Health Journal, 28, 314-323.

• Infants of depressed versus those of non-depressed mothers were less interactive during the spontaneous interactions, as were their mothers, and they showed less distress behaviors during the still-face condition.

Teaching Interactions

DeCubas, M. M., & Field, T. (1984). Teaching interactions of Black and Cuban teenage mothers and their infants. Journal of Early Child Development and Care, 16, 41- 56.

• Cuban mothers demonstrated the task to their infant with significantly more verbalization than the Black mothers. Adult mothers showed a more internal locus of control than teenage mothers. Infants of Black, teenage mothers vocalized significantly less often than infants of other groups.


Field, T., Adler, S., Vega Lahr, N., Scafidi, F., & Goldstein, S. (1987). Temperament and play interaction behaviors across infancy. Infant Mental Health Journal, 8, 156- 165.

• Easier temperament infants were generally noted to vocalize more and cry less frequently during their play interactions.

Video Taping Effects

Field, T., & Ignatoff, E. (1981). Videotaping effects on the behaviors of low income mothers and their infants during floor play interactions. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 2, 227- 235.

• One group of mothers was aware they were being videotaped, while the other was not. When the mothers were aware of being videotaped, they were proximal to their infants, offered and demonstrated toys more frequently, emitted a greater number of words as well as declarative and imperative sentences, and their infants engaged in more constructive play.

Working Mothers

Field, T., Stoller, S., Vega Lahr, N., Scafidi, F., & Goldstein, S. (1986). Maternal unavailability effects on very young infants in homecare vs. daycare. Infant Mental Health Journal, 7, 274- 280.

• Homecare vs. daycare infants displayed more motor activity and distress brow behavior, and their mothers showed more exaggerated facial expressions, vocalizing, and touching their infants than the mothers of daycare infants.

Field, T., Vega Lahr, N., Scafidi, F., & Goldstein, S. (1987). Working mother infant interactions across the second year of life. Infant Mental Health Journal, 8, 19- 27.

• Changes noted in the infants’ play behavior included an increase in vocalization and constructive play and a decrease in affectionate play. These results, together with corresponding decreases in the mother’s constructive and affectionate play behavior, suggest growing autonomy of the infant’s play and encouragement and autonomy by the mothers.