Publications of Watson, J. S.

Gergely G, Koós O, Watson JS. Perception causale et role des comportements imitatifs des parents dans le développement socio-émotionnel précoce. In: Nadel J, Decety J, editors. Imiter pour découvrir l’human: Psychologie, neurobiology, robotique et philosophie de l’esprit. Paris: ress Universitaires de France; 2002. p. 59-82.
Gergely G, Watson JS. Korai szocio-emocionális fejlődés kontingenciaészlelés és a szociális biofeedback. In: Pleh Cs, Csányi V, Bereczki T, editors. Lélek és evolúció : az evolúciós szemlélet és a pszichológia. Budapest: Osiris; 2001. p. 244-79.

Distinguishing Logic From Association in the Solution of an Invisible Displacement Task by Children (Homo sapiens) and Dogs (Canis familiaris): Using Negation of Disjunction

Prior research on the ability to solve the Piagetian invisible displacement task has focused on prerequisite representational capacity. This study examines the additional prerequisite of deduction. As in other tasks (e.g., conservation and transitivity), it is difficult to distinguish between behavior that reflects logical inference from behavior that reflects associative generalization. Using the role of negation in logic whereby negative feedback about one belief increases the certainty of another (e.g., a disjunctive syllogism), task-naive dogs (Canis fantiliaris; n = 19) and 4- to 6-year-pld children (Homo sapiens; n = 24) were given a task wherein a desirable object was shown to have disappeared from a container after it had passed behind 3 separate screens. As predicted, children (as per logic of negated disjunction) tended to increase their speed of checking the 3rd screen after failing to find the object behind the first 2 screens, whereas dogs (as per associative extinction) tended to significantly decrease their speed of checking the 3rd screen after failing to find the object behind the first 2 screens.

Gergely G, Watson JS. Early social-emotional development: Contingency perception and the social biofeedback model. In: Rochat P, editor. Early social cognition : understanding others in the first months of life. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; 1999. p. 101-37.

Early social-emotional development: Contingency perception and the social biofeedback model

The past century of theory about human development has placed much responsibility for normal socio-emotional development on the social interactions experienced in infancy. The reliance on nurture over nature in each of these theories may need to be tempered in light of some recent proposals about a variety of richly structured innate mechanisms to interpret social stimulation detectors for perceiving another person's intention and eye direction; teleological stance for interpreting another's action]. Even if incorporating one or more of these specific interpretive mechanisms, however, these diverse theories will surely continue to rely heavily on an assumption they share, at least implicitly, to the effect that human infants are sensitive to the existence of contingencies between their behavior and environmental events.

The social biofeedback model of parental affect-mirroring

The authors present a new theory of parental affect-mirroring and its role in the development of emotional self-awareness and control in infancy. It is proposed that infants first become sensitised to their categorical emotion-states through a natural social biofeedback process provided by the parent's ‘marked’ reflections of the baby's emotion displays during affect-regulative interactions. They argue that this sensitisation process is mediated (similarly to that of adult biofeedback training) by the mechanism of contingency-detection and maximising. Apart from sensitisation, affect-mirroring serves three further developmental functions: (1) it contributes to the infant's state-regulation; (2) it leads to the establishment of secondary representations that become associated with the infant's primary procedural affect-states providing the cognitive means for accessing and attributing emotions to the self; (3) it results in the development of a generalised communicative code of ‘marked’ expressions characterised by the representational functions of referential decoupling, anchoring and suspension of realistic consequences. They consider the clinical implications of our theory, relating it to current psychodynamic approaches to the functions of parental affect-mirroring. Using their model they identify various types of deviant mirroring styles and speculate about their developmental consequences. Finally, they discuss what role their social biofeedback model may play as a mediating mechanism in the therapeutic process.

The Social Biofeedback Theory Of Parental Affect-Mirroring:: The Development Of Emotional Self-Awareness And Self-Control In Infancy

The authors present a new theory of parental affect-mirroring and its role in the development of emotional self-awareness and control in infancy. It is proposed that infants first become sensitised to their categorical emotion-states through a natural social biofeedback process provided by the parent's ‘marked’ reflections of the baby's emotion displays during affect-regulative interactions. They argue that this sensitisation process is mediated (similarly to that of adult biofeedback training) by the mechanism of contingency-detection and maximising. Apart from sensitisation, affect-mirroring serves three further developmental functions: (1) it contributes to the infant's state-regulation; (2) it leads to the establishment of secondary representations that become associated with the infant's primary procedural affect-states providing the cognitive means for accessing and attributing emotions to the self; (3) it results in the development of a generalised communicative code of ‘marked’ expressions characterised by the representational functions of referential decoupling, anchoring and suspension of realistic consequences. They consider the clinical implications of our theory, relating it to current psychodynamic approaches to the functions of parental affect-mirroring. Using their model they identify various types of deviant mirroring styles and speculate about their developmental consequences. Finally, they discuss what role their social biofeedback model may play as a mediating mechanism in the therapeutic process.