Change over time in interactions between unfamiliar toddlers

Ayelet Lahat, Michal Perlman, Nina Howe, Holly E. Recchia, William M. Bukowski, Jonathan B. Santo, Zhangjing Luo, Hildy Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The frequency and length of games, conflicts, and contingency sequences that took place between toddlers as they got to know one another were studied using archival data. The sample consisted of 28 unfamiliar 20- and 30-month-old toddlers (predominantly White, 16 males) who met separately with each of two other toddlers for 18 play dates. The frequency of games increased over time, while the frequency of conflict and contingency sequences decreased. The length of games increased over time while the length of conflicts and contingency sequences were stable. Age and language ability predicted changes in frequency and length of the different types of sequences. Thus, toddlers engage in less structured interactions when they first meet; their interactions become increasingly more organized and positive as the relationship evolves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-34
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Toddlerhood
  • longitudinal study
  • peer relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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