The naive theory of the infant and other maternal attitudes in two subgroups in Israel

Child Dev. 1979 Dec;50(4):976-80.


104 mothers of 1- and 3-year-old children were interviewed. Half of the mothers were of high and half of low SES. Low SES mothers believed that infants acquire basic cognitive skills, such as vision, hearing, and comprehending speech, at a later age than high SES mothers. Low SES mothers also believed that the introduction of cognitively stimulating activities during the first years, such as buying the first book or starting to feed the self, should occur later than did high SES mothers. No status group differences were observed in the favored timetable of physical caregiving, such as toilet training or weaning. Nor were there status group differences on the strictness/leniency dimension or in the unwillingness to put pressure on infants for accelerated development. The naive theory of the infant as a cognitive being and the timing of cognitively enriching activities were found to belong to a common cluster, separated out from the rest of the maternal attitudes, in an analysis of the intercorrelation matrixes obtained in the two samples.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant*
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Maternal Behavior*
  • Socioeconomic Factors