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Fear in infancy: Lessons from snakes, spiders, heights, and strangers.

Authors
  • LoBue, Vanessa1
  • Adolph, Karen E2
  • 1 Department of Psychology, Rutgers University.
  • 2 Department of Psychology, New York University.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Developmental psychology
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2019
Volume
55
Issue
9
Pages
1889–1907
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1037/dev0000675
PMID: 31464493
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

This review challenges the traditional interpretation of infants' and young children's responses to three types of potentially "fear-inducing" stimuli-snakes and spiders, heights, and strangers. The traditional account is that these stimuli are the objects of infants' earliest developing fears. We present evidence against the traditional account, and provide an alternative explanation of infants' behaviors toward each stimulus. Specifically, we propose that behaviors typically interpreted as "fearful" really reflect an array of stimulus-specific responses that are highly dependent on context, learning, and the perceptual features of the stimuli. We speculate about why researchers so commonly misinterpret these behaviors, and conclude with future directions for studying the development of fear in infants and young children. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

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