Toronto Metropolitan University
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Infant cognitive development : the influence of maternal sensitivity and prior cognitive capacity

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posted on 2021-06-08, 11:26 authored by Vanessa Villani

Researchers have found that maternal sensitivity predicts cognitive development above and beyond prior cognitive capacity; however, cognition and sensitivity scores in previous studies were amalgamated. The principal aim of this thesis was to evaluate the changing influence of maternal sensitivity and prior capacity over several points in infancy.  Maternal sensitivity was assessed in the home at 6 and 18 months, and infant cognitive development at 6, 12, 18 and 36 months.  Through a series of multiple regressions and change score analyses, results indicated that maternal sensitivity is a better predictor of cognitive development than prior capacity of the infant in early infancy; however, as the infant ages, the relative influence of predictors changes.  That is, at 18-36 months, prior capacity appears a better predictor.  Thus, findings indicate maternal sensitivity is most influential in early infancy, whereas prior capacity of the infant is more influential in later infancy.  





  • Master of Arts


  • Psychology

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • Thesis

Thesis Advisor

Leslie R. Atkinson