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Psicologia, Saúde & Doenças

Print version ISSN 1645-0086


PACHECO, Alexandra  and  FIGUEIREDO, Bárbara. Newborns preference and habituation to the face / voice of the mother vs. the stranger. Psic., Saúde & Doenças [online]. 2010, vol.11, n.1, pp.137-150. ISSN 1645-0086.

When born, the human baby has a diversity of competences that guarantees a pre-adaptation and his survival in the extra-uterine environment. This study’s aim was to evaluate the preference and the habituation of the newborn baby for the face/voice of the mother vs. a strange person, as well as identifying variables that could influence these competences. The sample, constituted by 50 babies (with 1 to 5 days of life), was evaluated in terms of socio-demographic variables through the paradigm of the “preference and habituation by the face/voice of the mother vs. strange” that consists of an experimental situation that involves the participation of the mother and of two strange persons to the baby, with the objective of measuring the time that the baby looks at each person, in three different phases: 1) preference, 2) habituation and 3) post-habituation. Results show the preference for the face/voice of the mother in detriment of the strange person. Also, it is noticed that, from the phase of preference to the phase of post-habituation, the time that the baby looks at the mother becomes shorter while the time that the baby looks at the strange person increases. Some characteristics of the babies (e.g., ponderal rate > 2.50) and of the mothers (e.g., co-habitation employment) appear associated to more favorable results (e.g., higher mother’s voice/face preference on the preference than in the posthabituation phase’s and a faster habituation response to the maternal stimuli). We conclude that, in the first days of life, differences in the newborn baby behaviour with the mother and with a stranger are noted, which can interfere on the baby development and on his interaction with the mother.

Keywords : Habituation; Mothers vs. stranger face/voice preference; Newborn.

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