About Us



Newsletter Touchpoints


TRI Research


TRI Wellness



Contact Us

Research at TRI




Fernandez, M., Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Sanders, C., Diego, M., & Roca, A. (2004). EEG during lavendar and rosemary exposure in infants of depressed mothers. Infant Behavior and Development, 27, 91-100.

• Infants of depressed mothers exposed to rosemary or lavender oil showed a shift in EEG toward greater relative left frontal asymmetry. This shift was associated with an approaching pattern of behavior and response to positive stimuli.

Cardiac Responses

Nelson, M., Clifton, R., Dowd, J., & Field, T. (1978). Cardiac responding to auditory stimuli in newborn infants: Why pacifiers should not be used when heart rate is the major dependent variable. Infant Behavior and Development, 1, 277-290.

• The present study examined heart rate responses of 16 awake newborns to a 72 db auditory stimulus presented at four different times in relation to ongoing nonnutritive sucking activity: just before a sucking burst, early in a burst, late in a burst, and just after a burst. In addition, heart rate changes were examined during an intertrial sucking burst of selected duration. Intertrial results indicated that rapid, 10 bpm heart rate accelerations and decelerations occurred at the onset and offset of nonnutritive sucking, respectively. Heart rate changes in relation to tones were either acceleratory or deceleratory, depending on the nature of ongoing sucking activity. The results indicated that precise cardiac somatic coupling may occur in the newborn, and that future studies of neonatal heart rate responding should avoid the use of pacifiers to control state.

Field, T. (1979). Differential behavioral and cardiac responses of 3 month old infants to a mirror and peer. Infant Behavior and Development, 2, 179-184.

• Behavioral and cardiac responses were assessed for 3-month-old infants placed face-to-face with a mirror and peer. Infants looked longer at the mirror, but smiled, vocalized, reached toward and squirmed more in the presence of an infant peer. In addition, tonic heart rate was elevated during the peer situation. These effects may relate to the peer situation being more stimulating or arousing. Differential responding to the mirror and peer suggests some very early awareness of differences between a self-image and another infant.

Field, T. (1979). Visual and cardiac responses to animate and inanimate faces by young term and preterm infants. Child Development, 50, 188-194.

• Infants' looking and looking-away behaviors, as well as cardiac responses to mothers' spontaneous and imitative and to dolls' animated and still faces, were recorded for 18 term and 18 preterm infants when they were 3 months old. Infants spent less time looking at their mothers' than at the doll's faces, and their heart-rate levels were elevated while looking at mothers' faces. These effects were most pronounced for the preterm infants whose inferior scores on the animate visual item of the Brazelton neonatal scale suggested a continuity of visual inattentiveness to animate stimuli. Both groups also looked at the inanimate more than the animate doll's face and evidenced lower heart-rate levels during that situation.

Field, T., Dempsey, J., Hatch, J., Ting, G., & Clifton, R. (1979). Cardiac and behavioral responses to repeated tactile and auditory stimulation by preterm and term neonates. Developmental Psychology, 15, 406-416.

• Auditory stimuli and a tactile stimulus were repeatedly presented to 18 term and 18 preterm infants. Both groups initially responded to all stimuli with increased limb movements and heart rate acceleration. However, only the term infants responded to stimuli repetition by decreasing both cardiac and behavioral responses. In addition, they differentially responded to the three stimuli and showed response recovery in both systems. Since a behavioral response decrement was observed without a cardiac response decrement in the preterm group a second experiment was conducted. Heart rate change during the sucking activity of Experiment 2 revealed an integration between autonomic and motor responsivity of preterm infants comparable to that of newborns.


Field, T., & Walden, T. (1982). Production and discrimination of facial expressions by preschool children. Child Development, 53, 1299-1311.

• Production and discrimination of the 8 basic facial expressions were investigated among 34 3-5-year-old preschool children. Adults' "guesses" of the children's productions as well as the children's guesses of their own expressions on videotape were more accurate for the happy than afraid or angry expressions and for those expressions elicited during the imitation conditions. Greater accuracy of guessing by the adult than the child suggests that the children's productions were superior to their discriminations, although these skills appeared to be related. Children's production skills were also related to sociometric ratings by their peers and expressivity ratings by their teachers. These were not related to the child's age and only weakly related to the child's expressivity during classroom free-play observations.

Walden, T., & Field, T. (1982). Discrimination of facial expressions by preschool children. Child Development, 53, 1312-1319.

• This study investigated preschool children's ability to discriminate and categorize facial expressions. Children were shown drawings of persons with expressions of joy, sadness, surprise, and anger and asked to choose from an array of drawings the face that felt "the same" as the standard. In some cases the match had identical facial features and in others the match was a generalized version with no identical features. Both with and without prompts children made fewer errors matching happy expressions and matched generalized happy expressions as accurately as identical expressions. Surprised and angry faces were less accurately matched. Providing verbal labels for the faces facilitated matching, particularly for happy and generalized expressions, suggesting that labeling or explicitly providing a conceptual category may aid comparison and/or memory of the expressions. A levels-of-processing effect is suggested to be operating in young children's discrimination and categorization of facial expressions.

Depressed Mothers

Hart, S., Field, T., Letourneau, M., & DelValle, C. (1998). Jealousy protests in infants of depressed mothers. Infant Behavior and Development, 21, 137-148.

• Twelve-month-old infants of (N=97) mothers reporting depressed and nondepressed symptoms were videotaped while their mothers and a stranger directed positive attention toward a book or a doll while they ignored the infant. During conditions of unresponsiveness in which the object of attention was a doll, infants of depressed versus nondepressed mothers demonstrated less protest behavior, less proximity to their mothers, less disturbed exploratory activity and greater proximity to a stranger.

Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Del Pino, N., & Diego, M. (2000). Less exploring by mouth occurs in newborns of depressed mothers. Infant Mental Health Journal, 21, 204-210.

• Twenty-four newborns of depressed and nondepressed mothers were assessed for oral perception of a nubby and smooth texture. Both groups of newborns discriminated between these textures and showed a sucking preference for the smooth texture. However, the newborns of depressed mothers spent 50% less time orally exploring the stimuli, one-third less time exploring the more novel nubby texture, and 59% less time mouthing the smooth texture. Newborns of depressed mothers may have biological differences that affect their emotional arousal and emotional regulation (e.g., capacity for self-soothing).

Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., & Diego, M. (2004). Differential sucking by neonates of depressed versus non-depressed mothers. Infant Behavior and Development, 27, 465-476.

• Forty-two neonates of depressed and non-depressed mothers sucked on cold and warm nipples on alternating trials. Half the infants received the cold nipple on the first of the eight trials and the other half received the warm nipple first. Neonates of depressed mothers sucked twice as much as neonates of non-depressed mothers, suggesting arousal dysregulation, overactivity or greater hedonic behavior in the newborns of depressed mothers. Although the newborns did not show a preference for cold or warm nipples, a temperature order effect revealed that neonates who received the cold nipple on the first trial sucked significantly more on trials 2–8 than those who received the warm nipple on the first trial, suggesting that an initially cold nipple might elicit greater sucking.

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 and Development, 28, 48-53.

• Behavioral responses were assessed in 3-6-month-old infants of depressed mothers placed face-to-face in front of a mirror versus in front of their mother. 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 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 non-depressed mothers, suggesting that the mirror was particularly effective in eliciting vocalizations in infants of depressed mothers.

Hernandez-Reif, M., Diego, M., & Field, T. (2006). Instrumental and vocal music effects in neonates of depressed and non-depressed mothers. Infant Behavior and Development, 29, 518-525.

• Neonates of non-depressed mothers showed greater relative right frontal EEG asymmetry to both types of music, suggesting a withdrawal response. Neonates of depressed mother on the other hand, showed greater relative left frontal EEG asymmetry to the instrumental without vocal segment, suggesting an approach response, and greater relative right frontal EEG asymmetry to the instrumental with vocal segment, suggesting a withdrawal approach.

Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Diego, M., & Ruddock, M. (2006). Greater arousal and lesser attention by neonates of depressed vs non-depressed mothers on the brazelton neonatal assessment scale. Infant Behavior and Development, 29, 594-598.

• The neonates of depressed mothers received lower scores on orienting to the live face/voice stimulus and on the alertness items, suggesting they were less attentive. They also scored less optimally on the cuddliness and hand-to-mouth activity items, suggesting they were more aroused.

Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Diego, M., Vera, Y., & Pickens, J. (2006). Happy faces are habituated more slowly by infants of depressed mothers. Infant Behavior & Development., 29, 131-35.

• Infants of depressed mothers took longer to habituate the video clips of facial expressions compared to infants of non-depressed mothers, and those assigned to habituate the sad video clips displayed a novelty response or dishabituated to the happy expressions.

Field, T., Diego, M., Hernandez-Reif, M. & Fernandez, M. (2007). Depressed mothers’ newborns show less discrimination of other newborns’ cry sounds. Infant Behavior and Development, 30, 431-435.

• The newborns of non-depressed mothers responded to the cry sounds of other infants with reduced sucking and decreased heart rate. In contrast, the newborns of depressed mothers did not show a change in their sucking or heart rate to the cry of other infants. This lesser responsiveness to other infants’ cries may predict a lack of empathy.

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.

• Forty infants of depressed mothers and non-depressed mothers were seated in an infant seat and were exposed to four different degrees of animation, including a still-face Raggedy Ann doll, the same doll in an animated state talking and head-nodding, an imitative mother and a spontaneously interacting mother (the more animate mother condition). The infants spent more time looking at the doll, but they smiled and laughed more at the mother. The 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. Paradoxically, the infants of non-depressed mothers were negatively affected by the imitation condition, showing less smiling and laughing and more fussing than they had during the spontaneous interactions.


Pickens, J., Field, T., Fox, N. & Nawrocki, T. (2001). Frontal EEG Asymmetry in response to emotional vignettes in preschool age children. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 25, 105-112.

• EEG recordings were conducted with preschool children during presentations of videotaped vignettes depicting a fictional young child experiencing happy, sad, angry, and fearful events. Significant EEG asymmetry in the frontal region (left frontal activation) occurred during all types of emotional vignettes, but not during baseline periods (a neutral star-field image presented before and after each vignette). These children displayed mostly neutral facial expressions during the vignettes, with some evidence of lip movements during the negative episodes (suggesting that the stories were eliciting some mild emotional responses or empathy). There was no evidence of more intense emotional responses that have been associated with right frontal cortical activation. These EEG patterns may reflect cortical mechanisms underlying mild emotional responses and affective displays in preschool children, as well as their developing ability to regulate their affective systems.

Fernandez, M., Blass, E.M., Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Sanders, C., & Diego, M. (2003). Sucrose attenuates a negative EEG response to an aversive stimulus for newborns. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 24, 261-266.

• Reports that sweet taste calms crying in newborns and is analgesic against the pain caused by a heel lance served as the basis for this study. In a randomized and controlled trial, 34 newborns were administered 2 mL of water or sucrose solution before the heelstroke. Infants who received water showed increased relative right frontal EEG activation from baseline to the post-heelstroke phase, a pattern that typifies negative affect. The EEG of infants in the sucrose group did not change. Heart rate increased rapidly in both groups during the heelstroke phase. However, after the heelstroke, the heart rate of infants who received sucrose returned to baseline, whereas the heart rate of infants who tasted water remained elevated. During the heelstroke, the infants in the water group cried and grimaced twice as long as the infants in the sucrose group. These findings add to the growing literature showing that sucrose attenuates newborns' negative response to aversive or noxious stimuli.


Field, T., Woodson, R., Greenberg, R., & Cohen, D. (1982). Discrimination and imitation of facial expressions by neonates. Science, 218, 179-181.

• Human neonates discriminated three facial expressions (happy, sad, and surprised) posed by a live model as evidenced by diminished visual fixation on each face over trials and renewed fixations to the presentation of a different face. The expressions posed by the model, unseen by the observer, were guessed at greater than chance accuracy simply by observing the face of the neonate, whose facial movements in the brow, eyes, and mouth regions provided evidence for imitation of the facial expressions.

Field, T., Woodson, R., Cohen, D.,Greenberg, R., Garcia, R., & Collins, K. (1983). Discrimination and imitation of facial expressions by term and preterm neonates. Infant Behavior and Development, 6, 485-489.

• 48 term and preterm neonates participated in this study. The habituation/ dishabituation data of this study suggest that the neonate is capable of discriminating at least happy, sad, and surprised facial expressions. Habituation and dishabituation was more pronounced in term than preterm infants. However, both groups of infants appeared to imitate components of the expressions being modeled, and their expressions were accurately guessed more frequently than would be expected by chance.

Field, T. (1989). Individual and maturational differences in infant expressivity. New Directions for Child Development, 44, 9-23.

• Young infants can discriminate among different facial expressions. However, individual differences exist in infants' expressivity and ability to produce and discriminate facial expressions. The greater concordance between monozygotic than dizygotic twins on looking times and expressivity suggest that individual differences in expressivity occur as early as birth, possibly due to genetic differences.The significant individual differences between high- and low-expressive infants on attentiveness, responsivity to social stimulation, and automonic reactivity suggest that neonates may differ on a broader dimension than simply their expressivity and highlight the complexity of individual differences in neonatal behavior. Expressivity, or some other more cornplex dimension such as extraversion, may be innate, as has been speculated by Jones (1960) and Eysenck (1967), suggesting that there may be continuity on this dimension.

Walden, T., & Field, T. (1990). Preschool children's social competence and production and discrimination of affective expressions. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 8, 65-76.

• This study investigated the relationship between the ability to discriminate and produce facial expressions and social acceptance by peers of young preschool children. Results indicated that abilities to discriminate and produce expressions were unrelated when the contribution of age and IQ to the relation was removed. Furthermore, posed and spontaneous productions of expressions were not related. No gender differences were observed on any measures. Thus, results indicate that children’s discriminations ability and spontaneous expressivity predict social competence, as indexed by; liking by peers.

Lundy, B., Field, T., Cigales, M., Cuadra, A.,& Pickens, J.,(1997). Vocal and facial expression matching in infants of mothers with depressive symptoms. Infant Mental Health Journal, 18, 265-273.

• This study investigated vocal and facial expression matching in 24 10-month-old infants. Half of the mothers had reported depressive symptoms during the previous week. Infants of mothers who reported depressive symptoms displayed less accurate matching of the happy facial and vocal expressions and looked more to sad facial expressions compared to infants of mothers who had not reported depressive symptoms above the normal range. Infants' performance on the expression matching task appears to be related to their primary caregivers' reports of depressive symptoms during the previous week. However, other factors that may be related to the group differences also need to be considered. For example, maternal reports of depressive symptoms may be a marker for other underlying factors that may have affected their infants' performance.

Field, T., Pickens, J., Fox, N., Gonzalez, J. & Nawrocki (1998). Facial expressions and EEG responses to happy and sad faces/voices by 3-month-old infants of depressed mothers. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 16, 485-494.

• Videotaped happy and sad face/voice stimuli were presented after a neutral starfield baseline stimulus to 24 3-month-old infants of depressed and non-depressed mothers. The infants looked at and showed more positive expressions during the happy and sad face/voice stimuli versus the neutral starfield. The infants of non-depressed versus depressed mothers looked at the sad face/voice stimulus longer, perhaps because the sad face/voice stimulus was more novel for the infants of non-depressed mothers. A negative correlation between EEG and visual fixation time suggested that less left frontal activation (usually associated with withdrawal) was related to greater visual fixation time (usually associated with approach behaviour). This mixed approach/ withdrawal response was observed more frequently in infants of non-depressed mothers and could be interpreted as a vigilant or empathetic response in those infants.

Face-voice synchrony

Pickens, J., Field, T., Nawrocki, T., Martinez, A., Soutullo, D. & Gonzalez, J. (1994). Full-term and preterm infants' perception of face-voice synchrony. Infant Behavior and Development, 17, 447-455.

• This study investigated auditory-visual matching of faces and voices by preterm versus full-term infants at 3, 5, and 7 months of age. A significantly higher rate of visual fixation to the sound-matching films was observed in the full-term 3- and 7-month groups, but not at 5 months. Longitudinal testing confirmed the U-shaped developmental curve for full-term infants' task performance. In contrast to full terms, preterm infants did not display evidence of detecting face-voice synchrony. This suggests that an auditory-visual matching deficit may be associated with infant prematurity.

Imitative Behaviors

Field, T., Guy, L.,& Umbel, V. (1985). Infants' responses to mothers' imitative behaviors. Infant Mental Health Journal, 6, 40-44.

• This study investigated whether infants smile and vocalize more frequently subsequent to maternal imitative than non-imitative behavior during both spontaneous and imitative face-to-face interactions. Fourteen 3-month old infants and their mothers were videotaped in these two face-to-face interaction situations. The infants vocalized more frequently during the imitative situation and infant vocalizations plus simultaneous smiling, and vocalizations occurred more often following maternal imitative than non-imitative behavior. Although these data suggest that infant vocalizations and simultaneous smiles and vocalizations may reflect the infants’ recognition of maternal imitative behavior, they do not establish definitively that it is the imitation per se vs. the contingency aspect that is recognized by the infant.

Field, T., Goldstein, S., Vega Lahr, N., & Porter, K. (1986). Changes in imitative behavior during early infancy. Infant Behavior and Development, 9, 415-421.

• Changes in imitative behavior and attentiveness were observed in 40 infants when they were 2 to 6 months of age. The facial expressions happy, sad, and surprised were modeled in a trials-to-criterion procedure, and the infants' looking time and mouth movements were recorded by an observer who was unaware of the face being modeled. In addition, the observer recorded her guess as to the expression being modeled by the corresponding expression on the infant's face and rated the infant's expressivity. The results suggested that looking time, correspondence between the mouth expression of the infant and the mouth expression modeled, accuracy of the observer's guess, and expressivity ratings decreased from 2 to 3 and 4 to 6 months. Although matching of mouth movements with the modeled mouth movements and accuracy of guesses were greater than chance over the 2 to 6 month-period, the decreases in these measures suggest that imitative behavior declined across early infancy. The decrease in looking time suggests that imitative behavior and attentiveness may be related and highlights the limitation of this paradigm for assessing the development of imitation during early infancy.

Newborn Infants

Field, T., Cohen, D., Garcia, R., & Greenberg, R. (1984). Mother stranger face discrimination by the newborn. Infant Behavior and Development, 7, 19-25.

• Newborn infants discriminate their mother's face from the face of a stranger shortly after birth. The neonates showed an initial preference for their mother's face. The mother's face (or face and voice) was then presented to the neonates for repeated trials until the infant reached an habituation criterion. In a subsequent discrimination test the infants looked significantly longer at the stranger's face, suggesting that the mother's face was discriminated after very limited experience. Although voice cues were not required for this discrimination, the possibility remains that other cues, such as the mother's odor, may facilitate the discrimination of her face.


Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Diego, M., and Largie, S. (2002). Haptic habituation to temperature is slower in newborns of depressed mothers. Infancy,4, 47-63.

• Infants of depressed and non-depressed mothers were habituated to a cold or warm temperature tube by hand. Infants of depressed mothers 1) required twice as long to habituate, 2) showed a sensitization effect, indexed as an increase in holding from the second to the third trial of habituation and 3) showed passive hand activity while holding the object in their hand.

Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Diego, M., & Largie, S. (2003). Haptic habituation to temperature is slower in newborns of depressed mothers. Infancy, 4, 47-63.

• Forty newborns of depressed and nondepressed mothers were habituated to a cold or warm temperature tube by hand. Both groups of infants habituated the temperature of the tube, as indicated by a decrease in holding, and dishabituated, as indexed by an increase in holding when the temperature of the tube changed. However, the newborns of depressed mothers (a) required twice as long to habituate; (b) showed a sensitization effect, as indexed by an increase in holding from the second to the third trial of habituation; and (c) passively handled the objects with their hand.


Lundy, B., Field, T., Carraway, K., Hart, S., Malphurs, J.Rosenstein, M., Pelaez-Nogueras, M., Coletta, F., & Hernandez-Reif, M. (1998).Food texture preferences in infants. Early Child Development and Care, 146, 69-85.

• In the present research, infants displayed more negative expressions, negative head movements and negative body movements when presented with more complex textures. In contrast, toddlers showed more positive head and body movements and more eagerness for complex textures. The data also suggest that experience with difficult-to-chew textures can facilitate a preference for a more complex texture.

Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., del Pino, N., and Diego. M. (2000). Less Exploring by mouth occurs in newborns of depressed mothers. Infant Mental Health Journal, 21, 204-210.

• Newborns of depressed mothers spent half as much time orally exploring a nubby and smooth texture orally, suggesting that they may have biological differences affecting their emotional arousal and regulation.


Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Diego, M., & Largie, S. (2002). Depressed mothers' newborns show inferior face discrimination. Infant Mental Health Journal, 23, 643-653.

• Infants of depressed mothers took longer to habituate their mothers' face/voice and afterwards displayed no visual preference for mother or stranger, compared to infants of non-depressed mothers who showed a novelty preference for stranger.


Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Diego, M., and Largie, S. (2002). Weight perception by newborns of depressed vs. non-depressed mothers. Infant Behavior and Development, 24, 305-316.

• Newborns of depressed mothers showed passive manipulation of objects and did not detect a change in the object's weight during test trials.