The regulation of positive affect: Gaze aversion activity during mother-infant interaction

Cynthia A. Stifter, Deborah Moyer

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86 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine two aspects of gaze aversion activity in young infants: (a) at what level of positive affect infants employ gaze aversion, and (b) the relationship between maternal activity and gaze aversion activity. Sixty 5-month-old infants were videotaped while participating in a peek-a-boo was coded from the videotapes. Results revealed infant smiles of high intensity were associated with more frequent and longer gaze aversions. Moreover, the intensities of smiles to which infants averted their gaze were greater than those smiles to which infants did not change their gaze behavior. These same relationships were found for smile durations. Finally, moderate maternal activity level during peek-a-boo elicited the most gaze aversion activity following a smile. The functional significance of gaze aversion to increases in positive affect is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-123
Number of pages13
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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