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The significance of parent-infant holding for infant development is emphasized from a psychobiological point of view as an essential ingredient of bonding. The theoretical perspective of direct perception in a perceiver-environment ecosystem (Gibson) is discussed together with current findings in infant research, as they may apply to explain how differential parent-infant holding patterns influence the infant's perception of his environment. Impacts of holding patterns on parent-infant-interaction are also mentioned. General qualities of facilitating holding patterns are elaborated. Based on a review of the literature and on our own observations from videotapes some tendencies in paternal and maternal holding characteristics are mentioned. Implications and suggestions for further research is discussed.


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Georg Romer and K. Mark Sossin, Ph.D.

Georg Romer is a clinical medical student at the University of Freiburg, West Germany. During the academic year 1988/89 he was a graduate student of Child Psychology at New York University and a trainee at the Center for Parents and Children, sponsored by Child Development Research, Sands Point, N.Y., where this study has been conducted. Address correspondence to Basler Str. 56, 7800 Freiburg, West Germany.

K. Mark Sossin, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice, supervising psychologist at the Center for Parents and Children, Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychology and Co-coordinator of Infant/Toddler-Parent Research at Pace University, New York. The authors want to express their appreciation to their teachers Dr. Judith S. Kestenberg and Mrs. Arnhilt Buelte whose fundamental insights provided the cornerstone of this current investigation.

JOURNAL OF PRENATAL AND PERINATAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HEALTH publishes research and clinical articles from the cutting edge of the science of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health. The journal, published quarterly since 1986, is dedicated to the in-depth exploration human reproduction and pregnancy and the mental and emotional development of the unborn and newborn child.

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