Article open access publication

Relations between Automatically Extracted Motion Features and the Quality of Mother-Infant Interactions at 4 and 13 Months

Frontiers in Psychology, Frontiers, ISSN 1664-1078

Volume 8, 2017

DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02178, Dimensions: pub.1099654575, PMC: PMC5733485, PMID: 29326626,



  1. (1) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
  2. (2) LTCI, Télécom ParisTech, Université Paris-Saclay, Paris, France
  3. (3) Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, grid.411439.a
  4. (4) Institute for Intelligent Systems and Robotics, grid.462015.4







Bodily movements are an essential component of social interactions. However, the role of movement in early mother-infant interaction has received little attention in the research literature. The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between automatically extracted motion features and interaction quality in mother-infant interactions at 4 and 13 months. The sample consisted of 19 mother-infant dyads at 4 months and 33 mother-infant dyads at 13 months. The coding system Coding Interactive Behavior (CIB) was used for rating the quality of the interactions. Kinetic energy of upper-body, arms and head motion was calculated and used as segmentation in order to extract coarse- and fine-grained motion features. Spearman correlations were conducted between the composites derived from the CIB and the coarse- and fine-grained motion features. At both 4 and 13 months, longer durations of maternal arm motion and infant upper-body motion were associated with more aversive interactions, i.e., more parent-led interactions and more infant negativity. Further, at 4 months, the amount of motion silence was related to more adaptive interactions, i.e., more sensitive and child-led interactions. Analyses of the fine-grained motion features showed that if the mother coordinates her head movements with her infant's head movements, the interaction is rated as more adaptive in terms of less infant negativity and less dyadic negative states. We found more and stronger correlations between the motion features and the interaction qualities at 4 compared to 13 months. These results highlight that motion features are related to the quality of mother-infant interactions. Factors such as infant age and interaction set-up are likely to modify the meaning and importance of different motion features.


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