Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Gustafson, Gwen E.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Infants--Care; Crying


This study assessed the effects of cry duration and controllability on adults' behaviors directed toward and perceptions of an infant. Forty-eight nonparent adult females "babysat" with a life-like infant manikin in a laboratory nursery. During a 20-minute experimental session, some heard 2 minutes of crying and others, 13 minutes. They could either temporarily stop the cries by performing specific caregiving behaviors, or they could not stop the cries under any circumstances. Subjects' caregiving behaviors were coded from videotapes. Their perceptions of the infant were assessed by a modified version of the Infant Characteristics Questionnaire and additional, exploratory questions. Analyses of the behavioral measures indicated that subjects responded to persistent crying with fewer caregiving behaviors when they could not control the cries; that they responded more quickly when exposed to a longer duration of crying; and, in some cases, that their responses were cry specific. Responses to the two sets of questions indicated that subjects perceived the infant who cried longer as more aversive.


Bibliography: pages [69]-74.


vii, 105 pages




Northern Illinois University

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