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Between Terror and Trust: Patterns of Parent-Infant Communication in Play
Unformatted Document Text:  peek-a-boo and chase when the older daughter played with Rachel and pretended to chase her. Rachel enjoyed these games and once tried to chase after her sister. We would like to begin by describing in some detail the phenomena of finger- eating, a behavior we have not previously seen described and had not anticipated. Kyas first observed finger-eating when Guido and Rachel were eating dinner. They were sitting facing each other and were so involved in their interaction that they completely forgot that she was present in the room filming them. She had been videotaping them for a several months by then and had, together with her camcorder, become just another part of their home environment. At that time Rachel was 16 months old. Rachel was strapped in a baby-chair and while being fed by Guido, she was also playing with car keys. When they were almost finished eating, Rachel was at the optimum conditions to play – she was fed, warm and safe. The right stimuli got triggered and Rachel spontaneously initiated the finger-eating game. Guido responded to her initiation with great synchrony. They both switched from eating to playing in a matter of seconds. The whole finger-eating scene took fifty seconds. The game was largely non-verbal and displayed perfect synchrony and cooperation. Guido’s responses to Rachel’s play initiation were in form of facial expressions, movements, and non-verbal sounds. He spoke only in the calming down sequence. This finger eating scene is an excellent example of a behavior that is an evolutionary adaptation. Not being consciously aware of it, Guido and Rachel spontaneously engaged in simulated terror management training. The “inherited” predator schema got activated and provided not only practicing opportunity through implicit pedagogy but also intrinsic enjoyment of the process for both.

Authors: Kyas, Jirina. and Steen, Francis.
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peek-a-boo and chase when the older daughter played with Rachel and pretended to chase
her. Rachel enjoyed these games and once tried to chase after her sister.
We would like to begin by describing in some detail the phenomena of finger-
eating, a behavior we have not previously seen described and had not anticipated. Kyas
first observed finger-eating when Guido and Rachel were eating dinner. They were sitting
facing each other and were so involved in their interaction that they completely forgot
that she was present in the room filming them. She had been videotaping them for a
several months by then and had, together with her camcorder, become just another part of
their home environment. At that time Rachel was 16 months old. Rachel was strapped in
a baby-chair and while being fed by Guido, she was also playing with car keys.
When they were almost finished eating, Rachel was at the optimum conditions to
play – she was fed, warm and safe. The right stimuli got triggered and Rachel
spontaneously initiated the finger-eating game. Guido responded to her initiation with
great synchrony. They both switched from eating to playing in a matter of seconds. The
whole finger-eating scene took fifty seconds. The game was largely non-verbal and
displayed perfect synchrony and cooperation. Guido’s responses to Rachel’s play
initiation were in form of facial expressions, movements, and non-verbal sounds. He
spoke only in the calming down sequence.
This finger eating scene is an excellent example of a behavior that is an
evolutionary adaptation. Not being consciously aware of it, Guido and Rachel
spontaneously engaged in simulated terror management training. The “inherited” predator
schema got activated and provided not only practicing opportunity through implicit
pedagogy but also intrinsic enjoyment of the process for both.


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