By Stella Chess, Alexander Thomas

First released in 1992. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Extra resources for 1986 Annual Progress In Child Psychiatry

Example text

What this implies is that we may need to reconsider current theories of the direction of influence in the mother-infant relationship. Over the past 15 years there has been a welcome recognition of the importance of the role of the infant as an influence on the interaction between mother and child. Yet the findings reported here suggest that the affection, verbal behavior, and ANNUAL PROGRESS IN CHILD PSYCHIATRY AND DEVELOPMENT 25 directive control that mothers show toward their 12-month-old babies during feeding and playful interactions reflect maternal rather than infant characteristics.

Actually, I do not believe that intelligent children directly cause their mothers to behave more positively toward them, because the model does not take into account the mother-child IQ connection or the connection between maternal intelligence and maternal behaviors. Mothers who are intelligent have CONSTRUCTING PSYCHOLOGY 41 Figure 7 Proximal and Distal Maternal Predictors of Child’s Social Adjustment children who are intelligent; intelligent mothers behave in more benign and positive ways toward their children, who may also evoke more positive handling from their mothers.

As I will argue later, pitting proximal and distal variables against each other in competing models can enrich our theoretical lives and save us fruitless attempts at intervention. CONSTRUCTING PSYCHOLOGY 33 PERSUASIVE MODELS Scientific theories are judged by their persuasive power in the community of scientists (Rorty, 1979). They advance and decline through discussions among scientists. Scientists conduct theory-ridden searches for new kinds of observations that become facts more easily within their theories than in the perspectives of competing theories.

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