This essay focuses on the different kinds of early life. urban middle-class Greeks, urban lower-class Costa Ricans, rural Indian
In an extensive effort to document the different kinds of early life experiences around the world, Heidi Keller (2007) studied parenting interactions with 3-monthold infants in five diverse cultural contexts: urban middle-class Germans, urban middle-class Greeks. This urban lower-class Costa Ricans, rural Indian Gujarati, and rural Cameroonians. The researchers made several unannounced visits. This is to videotape mothers and their infants, resulting in about 100 minutes of observation per family. The researchers assessed several different behaviors of the mothers. For example, they calculated the amount of time the mother was in bodily contact with the infant. Figure 5.7a shows that there was considerable variation in this behavior. It is with the urban European infants spending most of their time not in contact with their mothers. This is whereas the infants from the other cultural groups spend the majority of the time being hold by their mothers.
Indeed, there was not a single observation of a Cameroonian infant when it was not being hold by its mother. Another variable that was assess was the amount of time mothers make faceto-face contact with their infants. Figure 5.7b shows that the urban European infants spent most of their time in face-to-face contact. This is with their mothers, but this was much less the case for the other groups, especially the Gujarati. Moreover, the responses of the German mothers were more contingent to the babies’ cries and behaviors than was found with the Cameroonian mothers, and this cultural difference predicted how quickly the babies learned to recognize themselves in a mirror: The more responsive their mothers were to their cries, the younger the child