Browsing: Beatrice Beebe


“Face-to-face communication is very fast, both in adults and mothers and infants,” Beebe says. “When we watch people interacting in real time, we often do not see subtle aspects of the interaction. When we slow it down, and view it second by second, or by fractions of seconds, we see a new subterranean world of the details of interactions. Viewing the film frame-by-frame is like having a social microscope. You can see how each person affects the other, moment by moment. You can see who acted first- did the infant turn his head away first, and then the mother moved her head in close, looming in? Or did the mother loom in first, and then the infant turned his head away?” .


The authors call for “a dramatic shift in the way we, as adults, and as a culture, view infants. Already, by four months, infants notice, remember, and come to expect every little thing” (pg. 232). Their hope is to influence our view of infants so that we learn to appreciate infants’ extraordinary social capacities. Infants already let us know what they are feeling and we, without consciousness, communicate our feelings to them as well.