Entries in infants (4)


I Dislike the Dog that Likes the Rabbit that I Dislike: Why Do We Like Some People but Dislike Others?

The notion that people prefer similar others is as empirically-validated a research finding as they come in our field (see here, for example). Similar people make us feel better about ourselves, and who doesn’t like somebody that makes us feel better about ourselves? In fact, the preference for similarity is so common that it is considered a general characteristic of the human condition, and it’s not hard to imagine how preferring to hang around similar people, and avoiding dissimilar people, might benefit survival.

Recently, researchers have begun to identify exactly how early this preference for similar others begins to develop.  One can’t help but wonder whether this “universal” preference for similar others is nature (i.e., we’re born with it) or nurture (i.e., others, such as our parents, teach us to like similar others and not like dissimilar others).

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New Parents: We’re On the Same Team

image source: living.msn.comHaving a first child can be a stressful time for couples for many reasons. One factor that may contribute to new-parent stress is whether the new parents agree on how to parent. In a recent study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, researchers examined whether new parents had similar parenting styles and felt like they were working together as team in raising their new infants; they also assessed whether this teamwork was related to parents’ mental health and relationship satisfaction. New mothers and fathers who felt like their parenting styles were similar had more positive moods and experienced less depression in the months following the birth of their first child. In addition, perceived agreement in parenting styles was related to mothers’ overall relationship satisfaction. 

Don, B. P., Biehle, S. N., Mickelson, K. D. (in press). Feeling like part of a team: Perceived parenting agreement among first-time parents. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.


Sensitive Parental Care In Childhood Predicts Better Relationships In Adulthood

We’ve written a few articles on the effect of attachment style on adult relationships (see here for a primer on attachment and here for all attachment articles). To recap, attachment style represents the ways in which we relate to the people we care about. Some people tend to be open and trusting (secure attachment), some people tend to be more needy and insecure (anxious attachment), and yet others prefer to keep their distance (avoidant attachment). Researchers know that people’s attachment styles can explain a lot about the roots of their behavior in their relationships.1 But where do these attachment styles come from?

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Co-Sleeping with Infants Reduces Their Stress Reactions

Researchers assessed infants’ cortisol following a routine (but often distressing) bath at 5 weeks of age to determine whether sleeping arrangements affect how infants manage stress. Infants who co-slept, spending at least half the night in the same room with their moms (most were not in the same bed), had lower cortisol after bathing than did infants who slept in their own rooms. Other variables (e.g., breastfeeding, maternal responsiveness) did not account for the results.

Tollenaar, M. S., Beijers, R., Jansen, J., Riksen-Walraven, J. M. A., & de Weerth, C. (2012). Solitary sleeping in young infants is associated with heightened cortisol reactivity to a bathing session but not to a vaccination. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 37, 167-177.

image source: farm6.staticflickr.com