The development of gaze following begins in early infancy and its developmental foundation has been under heavy debate. Using a longitudinal design (N = 118), we demonstrate that attachment quality predicts individual differences in the onset of gaze following, at six months of age, and that maternal postpartum depression predicts later gaze following, at 10 months. In addition, we report longitudinal stability in gaze following from 6 to 10 months. A full path model (using attachment, maternal depression and gaze following at six months) accounted for 21% of variance in gaze following at 10 months. These results suggest an experience-dependent development of gaze following, driven by the infant's own motivation to interact and engage with others (the social-first perspective).
- gaze following
- maternal postpartum depression
- social context