Cultural Variation in Families’ Shared Engagement

Abstract

Cultural Variation in Families’ Shared Engagement This study examines whether Indigenous-heritage Mayan mothers and their young children are more likely than middle-class European American mothers and their children to engage by blending agendas in fluid collaboration while exploring novel objects together. Fluid collaboration appears to be encouraged in many Indigenous communities of the Americas, where children often collaborate in ongoing family and community endeavors (Rogoff, 2003; Mozier & Rogoff, 1993, 2003). The present research submits audio signals of videotaped observations of mothers and their children in home interactions to micro-analysis using spectrographs, to compare the interactions of Mayan and European American families (Gratier, 2003, 2013; Malloch, 1999; Trevarthen, 2008). In the visual representations of their vocalizations, we find evidence that the Mayan families more frequently use smooth collaboration whereas the middle-class European American families appear to struggle more to establish a shared rhythm in their interactions.


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