Congratulations to graduating doctoral student Britt Singletary (left) on being the SoA’s 2018–2019 Dozier Award recipient for her paper “Learning through shared care: Allomaternal care impacts cognitive development in early infancy.” Britt will receive $500 and is invited to present her paper as part of the School’s lecture series. Britt’s abstract appears below.
This year’s second place Dozier Award of $250 goes to Rachel Rosenbaum (right) for her paper “When past occupation becomes present occupation: Navigating moral ambivalence through chronotopes in talk about Syrian refugees in Beirut, Lebanon.” Rachel’s abstract will be included in the web version of this story.
Britt’s abstract: Purpose: This study investigates how allomaternal care (AMC) impacts human development outside of energetics, assessing important qualitative and quantitative aspects of AMC not previously considered by anthropologists. This study seeks to determine whether there are measurable differences in cognitive and language outcomes as predicted by differences in exposure to AMC via formal (e.g., childcare facilities) and informal (e.g., family and friends) networks. Methods: Data were collected from 102 mothers and their typically developing infants aged 13-18 months. AMC predictor data were collected using questionnaires, structured daily diaries, and longitudinal interviews. Developmental outcomes were assessed using the Cognitive, Receptive Language, and Expressive Language subtests of the Bayley III Screening test. Additional demographic covariates were also included. Backward model selection of linear regression models was used to generate models of best fit for each outcome. Results: Highly involved familial AMC has a positive effect on Cognitive subtest score (β = 0.23, p < 0.005, semi-partial R2= 0.0746), a negative effect on Receptive Language subtest score (β = - 0.15, p <0.008, semi-partial R2 = 0.0367), and no effect on Expressive Language subtest score. Formal childcare has no effect on any outcome. Conclusions: This study provides preliminary evidence that there is a measurable connection between AMC and communicative and cognitive development in some populations, and provides a methodological base from which to assess these connections in other cultures through future studies. These effects are attributable to interactions with a mother’s informal caregiving network, rather than attendance at formal childcare facilities. (Anthro News date: 5/10/2019)