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The Study of an Infant Playing Peekaboo
This study aimed to analyze the behavioral characteristics and mental performance of an infant (Nora) playing a peekaboo game during her age from 2 to 12 months old. Participant observation approach and parents interviews were conducted during the 11 months study. The researcher observed 2 hours a time, twice a week at the infant’s home. Results indicated that Nora’s behavioral development and mental performance while playing a peekaboo game could be divided into five stages: indistinct stage, smile and gaze stage, expect (the hider’s reappearance) stage, move to find the hider stage, and actively play a peekaboo game stage. During “indistinct stage” (2-3 months old), Nora made sounds like “en”, opened her mouth, and looked straight at the researcher. At “smile and gaze stage” (4 months old), she began to smile, pull the researcher’s hands off, and gaze at the researcher’s face. The mental performance showed the operation of “Theory of Body” mechanism. At “expect (the hider’s reappearance) stage” (5-8 months old), Nora made body movements to request for the hider’s reappearance, stared at the researcher’s back and expected the reappearance, and selectively smiled in certain contexts of peekaboo games. At “move to find the hider stage” (9-10 months old), Nora guessed where the researcher’s face would appear and moved to look for it. At “actively play a peekaboo game stage” (11-12 months old), Nora used shelters to hide her face, pulled down shelters with both hands when she heard the sound “yi ao en”, and hid her whole body behind the furniture. Nora gradually understood the researcher’s mental states through the simulating process. During the 11 months of peekaboo games, Nora demonstrated her own ways of playing and formed her unique peekaboo theory. Based on the results of the study, some suggestions were proposed for parents, caregivers, and future studies. Keywords: peekaboo game, mental performance
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