Individual differences in social referencing

Jennifer Urbano Blackford, Tedra A. Walden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The present study investigated the relation between individual differences in temperamental fear and referencing, affect and behavior regulation, and quality of parent messages in two groups of infants (younger, 11 to 15 months; older, 16 to 22 months). Fifty-five infants participated with a parent in a laboratory social referencing situation, involving two message conditions (positive/fearful). Temperamental fear was assessed by parent report. Quality of parents' messages was influenced by temperamental fear, with parents providing higher quality positive and lower quality fearful messages to high fear boys. Temperamental fear and regulation were related in the younger group of infants, with infants classified as low fear demonstrating affect and behavior regulation. Gender was related to affect regulation across both age groups; girls showed regulation, whereas boys did not. These findings indicated that individual differences in temperament are related to regulation and parents' messages, but not to child looking at parents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-102
Number of pages14
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavior regulation
  • Emotion regulation
  • Parent-infant interaction
  • Social referencing
  • Temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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