Hobson 1993 argued that babies come into the world with an eagerness
to relate to others. Relationships with significant others are
important to our psychological life. Relationships between children
and their caregivers are also important for not only their physical
but emotional needs as well.
The relationships that build between infant and caregiver is vital for
the development of the infant in their future as adults.
In the weeks after they are born babies have limited abilities to
interact with adults who look after them but as they get older they
become more and more equal partners in creating and upholding their
There are many different aids that contribute towards the development
and enhance relationships. Three main features of early development
are meshing, scaffolding and imitation. Each contributes to early
development of the infant. Many psychologists through research have
used these aids to make claims or object about the abilities of
infants to interact with caregivers.
Meshing is the behaviour that adults and infants undertake when
forming early relationships. During interaction each individuals
behaviour seems to fit in with the others. Both child and caregiver
seem to smoothly integrate with each other and each persons
contribution fits in with the others. Turn-taking is a prominent
feature of meshing dominantly lead by the caregiver. Mutual action
occurs of expressions and signals of emotion. Meshing can be verbal or
non-verbal with body language like nods and eye contact that signal
ongoing attention. Both infant and caregiver do not need to be skilled
in this interaction as the adult pre-dominantly fits their behaviour
around the infants.
These forms of dialogue are called pseudo-dialogues. Through this type
of interaction the infant begins to form representations of others as
well as their own behaviour and they also learn the responsiveness of
others. The pseudo-dialogue then turns to proto-dialogue and the
infant will then begin to play an active role.
Meshing creates a valuable social interaction for the infant and it
plays an important role in an infants development because it provides
the infant with the experience of taking part in a dialogue. This
unique interaction gives the child its first experience of
Meshing can have a conversation-like quality which is a valuable first
experience for babies. No other object in the infants world can offer
the infant this experience of interaction. The infants behaviour can
bring a responsiveness from the adult that gives the infant a sense of
relatedness, their actions can produce a sense of being closely
engaged with something very attuned to them. This is a valuable social
experience for the infant.