Coyness in early infancy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present exploratory study reports the presence of ‘coy’ smiles beginning at 2-3 months in infancy, consisting of smiling with simultaneous gaze and head aversion and curving arm movements. Five infants were video-taped in natural interaction in their homes once a week between 7 and 20 weeks of age. These smiles were elicited in contexts of social attention, and were more likely following the renewed onset of attention. They occurred in interaction with familiar adults, with strangers and with the self in a mirror. Such expressions have previously only been reported in adults and in toddlers in the second year and have been interpreted as self-conscious emotional reactions deriving from newly developing self-conscious cognitions. The morphological and functional similarities between these early expressions and those reported in toddlers and adults suggest a developmental continuity in these reactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-192
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


Dive into the research topics of 'Coyness in early infancy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this