St Luke Painting the Virgin, by Rogier Van der Weyden

Kenneth Kaye's publications on the early development of human behavior

Book: The Mental and Social Life of Babies (1982)

University of Chicago Press, 1982. Republished in UK, Spain, Italy, Argentina, and Japan. Complete text of the first edition, with an index

Articles, Chapters, and Book Reviews

The birth of psychology from the spirit of Nietzche (1970)

Cambridge Review, January 1970. One's first academic publication is a thrill on the order of a student pilot's first solo flight. In my case, it happened while I was at "the other Cambridge" on a postdoctoral fellowship: only a book review in a university magazine, to be sure, but I've held onto that issue for nearly 50 years.

Mother-infant interaction in the organization of sucking (Kaye and Brazelton, 1971)

by Kenneth Kaye and T. Berry Brazelton. Presented to the Society for Research in Child Development, Minneapolis, March 1971.

Milk pressure as a determinant of the burst-pause pattern in neonatal sucking (1972)

Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, 1972, Vol. 8, pp. 83-84.

Infants' effects upon their mothers' teaching strategies (1977)

In John C. Glidewell, ed. The Social Context of Learning and Development, Gardner Press, 1979. My dissertation committee, in 1970, had found my analysis of multiple variables so creative that one professor, Sheldon White, told me he would approve it only on condition that I promised never to submit it for publication! I didn't, but when Jack Glidewell asked me to contribute to this volume of research by the U. of Chicago faculty in Educational Psychology, I must have justified this to myself as an updated version. It was still, perhaps, aggressive in its claims; yet our large longitudinal project was well underway by this time, and our theory about the development of skills in the context of parent-infant interactions had come a long way.

Toward the origin of dialogue (1977)

In Rudolph Schaffer, ed. Studies in Mother-Infant Interaction: Proceedings of the Loch Lomond Symposium, Univ. of Strathclyde, 1975., Academic Press, 1979. "The fact that the most neurologically advanced organism is born in a neurologically primitive state needs explaining. Only by looking at the psychological development of the dyad can we begin to explain it." I remember my excitement at receiving the letter of invitation in 1974 to that conference in Scotland, all expenses paid. It felt, and was, important recognition, as was the opportunity to bring my leading student and research project manager, Alan Fogel, as a full participant in his own right. I managed to insert a little Loch Lomond witticism on page 99. The research productivity of this period, the mid-1970s, surprises me in looking back at what a painful time it was personally, coinciding with the failure of my first marriage.

Discriminating among normal infants by multivariate analysis of Brazelton scores: lumping and smoothing. (1972)

In Arnold Sameroff, ed. Organization and Stability in Newborn Behavior (a Monograph of the Society for Research in Child Development), 1978, Vol. 43, No. 177. "The procedure and ratings which Brazelton included in the exam were chosen less for correspondence to personality traits in later life than for their salience in the social environment of early infancy. Thus, NBAS scores provide an attractive possibility for assessing the infant's initial contribution to the mother-infant dyad."

Imitation over a series of trials with feedback: Age six months (Kaye and Marcus, 1978)

by Kenneth Kaye and Janet Marcus, Infant Behavior and Development, 1978, Vol. 1, pp. 141-155. The Abstract made this sound like a relatively mundane discovery: "The 6-month-old infant is capable of imitation superior to previous reports, when he or she controls the timing of the model presented." But its profound significance, which would be discussed four years later in The Mental and Social Life of Babies, is suggested in the concluding sentence: "The study of immediate imitation tells us little or nothing about how imitation is being used by the infant or child at a given stage, at the frontier of developing schemas."

The development of skills (1979)

In Grover Whitehurst and Barry Zimmerman, eds. The Functions of Language and Cognition, Academic Press, 1979. A more detailed treatment of the theories about the nature and early development of systematic intentional behavior than the topic's treatment in Mental and Social Life of Babies, this article expanded the work I'd begun in my dissertation, and the significance of the social context of learning, without yet formulating the apprenticeship theory that the book would propose. Most important is the distinction between process models of skills and competence models of the knowledge a skill entails. I argued that only the former, the description of how skilled behavior is organized in real time, can lead to hypotheses and research on the actual process of development, the how as opposed to mere descriptions of what changes from one stage to the next. Unfortunately, my colleagues continued to ignore this distinction, and perhaps still do.

Thickening thin data: the maternal role in developing communication and language (1979)

In Margaret Bullowa, ed. Before Speech: The beginning of interpersonal communication, Cambridge University Press, 1979. I wrote about the implications of our research findings for understanding the role of parent-baby play in preparing human infants to become language learners. Although I had much more to say on this subject a few years later, this brief chapter summarizes that aspect of our apprenticeship theory.

The temporal structure of face-to-face communication between mothers and infants (Kaye and Fogel, 1980)

by Kenneth Kaye and Alan Fogel, Developmental Psychology, 1980, Vol. 16, pp. 454-464. "Although it is true that growing infants spend a declining proportion of time gazing at their mothers' faces, those declining periods contain a richer and more balanced exchange of expressive acts between the two partners. ...

"The effect of these first 6 months' exchanges is more specific than merely a shift toward reciprocity. As infants become less dependent on mothers' initiations, their own behavior acquires more internal organization. The runs of facial expression are not the first burst-pause pattern to appear in the infant's behavior--his sucking is innately organized in such a pattern, to which mothers' feeding behavior is quite sensitive (Kaye & Wells, 1980)--but it is the first to develop from a more diffuse, disorganized stream. We have to explain not only how this process occurs but why it needs to occur at all, instead of the infant coming equipped with innate organization like the sucking pattern.

"In light of the present study, it would not be correct to describe this developmental process as though infants were being entrained by mothers' rhythms. For the mothers' behavior, in fact, is not rhythmic. What does seem to happen, at least in the case of the facial expressions explored here, is that the mother's background behavior (or 'frame') affects the stochastic likelihood of occurrence of infant behaviors, themselves also entirely arhythmic. This creates 'runs', which consist entirely of an aperiodic rise and fall in the infant's rates of expression, and which gradually transfer to other contexts without the frame.

" 'Runs' or 'turns' could have been built into the human infant, either in the form of such aperiodic waxing and waning of stochastic rates or in the form of much more regular cycles. If one were designing a system in which two organisms were going to be communicating with one another in a great many different and changing ways, however, it would be more adaptive to leave the development of their mutual fit to their mutual experience. Rather than let either partner's behavior be clock dependent, one would provide an emergent cyclicity by means of stochastic process sensitive to particular events whose occurrence is guaranteed in a general way by the other partner's behavior. This, we believe, is what provides the openness to interdependent yet flexible organization in the human species."

Mothers' jiggling and the burst-pause pattern in neonatal sucking (Kaye and Wells, 1980)

by Kenneth Kaye and Anne Wells, Infant Behavior and Development, 1980, Vol. 3, pp. 29-46. "... any semblance of social interaction in this period is due to the mother's social intentions and to the infant's endogenous rhythms and reflexes, rather than to communicative intentions on his or her part. However, the newborn's immaturity at birth may be an important asset--for it guarantees a degree of salient regularity, rhythmicity, and predictability to behavior, which will not again be possible once higher cortical processes take over. The human mother apparently makes use of the fact that she can predict the temporal structure of her infant's behavior. ... It may be that a species which is going to rely so heavily upon communication and co-operation, and in which so much knowledge and basic skill is going to be passed on through interaction and discourse, has evolved mechanisms of behavior in its newborns which serve to guide parents in interacting with them."

The Infant as a Projective Stimulus (1980)

American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 1980, Vol. 50, No. 4, pp. 732-736. Demonstrated highly significant stability in the themes of mothers' speech to their infants in our longitudinal sample at 6, 13, and 26 weeks.

Infant imitation: the sensorimotor agenda (Kaye and Marcus, 1981)

by Kenneth Kaye and Janet Marcus, Developmental Psychology, 1981, Vol. 17, pp. 258-265. "Active imitation plays a major role in the differentiation of schemas, but imitation should not be defined at the convenience of an experimenter. As Piaget argued, accommodation to modeled actions proceeds by a highly selective accommodation of features, with infants defining for themselves what matches what. Their imitation over a period of time is not as capricious as it may appear, though the process itself remains mysterious."

How mothers maintain "dialogue" with two-year-olds (Kaye and Charney, 1980)

by Kenneth Kaye and Rosalind Charney. In The Social Foundations of Language and Thought. David Olson, ed. Norton, 1980, pp. 211-230. "The development of conversational pragmatics begins early--at birth--and continues late. It is a stream of language development parallel to those of semantics and syntax, intertwined with them. The infant's assumption of full partnership in dialogues is a process recapitulated on each new plane. It is completed within a few weeks for feeding, a few months later for play with objects, later still for simple naming of objects. The adult's role, which comes quite naturally to mothers and fathers, is to use each new plane of mastery as a springboard for the next challenge."

Why we don't talk 'baby talk' to babies (1980)

Journal of Child Language, 1981, Vol. 7, pp. 489-507. "Speech to infants was [found to be] quite different from so-called 'baby talk,' but contrary to other authors, the speech to infants was even shorter, more repetitive, and more limited in content than the speech to language-learning children. Differences appear due to the infant's changing status in the relationship, from a potential to an actual conversant."

Conversational asymmetry between mothers and children (Kaye and Charney, 1981)

by Kenneth Kaye and Rosalind Charney, Journal of Child Language, 1981, Vol. 8, pp. 35-49. "Turnabouts, which both respond to and require a response from the other (either verbal or nonverbal), wre produced more than twice as often by mothers as by their [two-year-old] children." The results were manifestations of the more general adult role of amplifying biologically constrained interpersonal structures (in this case, turn-taking) in the direction of the social conventions, linguistic rules, and patterns of thought particular to a given culture.

Hesitation (1981)

A review of Of Speech and Time: Temporal Speech Patterns in Interpersonal Contexts. (A. Siegman and S. Feldstein, eds.) in Language and Society, 1981, Vol. 10, p. 317.

Organism, apprentice, and person (1982)

In Edward Tronick, ed. Social Interchange in Infancy: Affect, Cognition, and Communication. University Park Press, 1982, pp. 183-196. Summarizes the main arguments and evidence in support of the Apprenticeship theory laid out in The Mental and Social Life of Babies. "The claim that infants are not really persons until they possess language and self-consciousness may appear offensive at first. In reality it makes our theory of infancy more accurate without taking anything away from the remarkable organism that the newborn is or the remarkable interactions that infants and adults engage in during the first year of life. ... An infant's most important innate functions are extrinsic ones."

Social factors in children's learning to communicate (1982)

A less than enthusiastic review of Language, Children, and Society: The Effect of Social Factors on Children Learning to Communicate (Olga K. Garnica and Martha L. King, eds.) in Child Development Abstracts and Bibliography, 1982, Vol. 56 No. 1, pp. 100-101.

The genesis of mother-infant interaction: How parents create persons (1986)

Introductory chapter to Drug Use in Pregnancy: Mother and Child, edited by Ira J. Chasnoff, MD. MTP Press, UK, 1986. My penultimate article in this field was probably a mistake. Asked to keynote a conference in a field in which I had never worked, I should have declined, but obviously -- still feeling the frustration and humiliation of academic failure -- I seized the occasion to make one more stab at pitching the importance of what is still, I believe, my most profound work.

Infant feeding (1988)

A review of Breasts, Bottles, and Babies: A History of Infant Feeding by Valerie A. Fildes. In Contemporary Psychology, 1988, Vol. 33, No. 5, pp. 449-450.

Becoming a person (1989)

A review of Babies and their Mothers, articles by D.W. Winnicott (Clare Winnicott, Ray Shepherd, Madeleine Davis, eds.) and three new books on infancy published in 1987 and 1988. This was a better opportunity to reflect on the field of infancy research, with some style as well as substance. "The miracle of birth, and then of transformation into a member of the human circle, has become a projective card upon which each observer's interpretations reflect his or her personal agenda. Probably for that very reason, it is hard to think of another area of science that combines such genuine profundity with such a propensity for nonsense."