The non-verbal narrative in sharing and meaning-making: a route to regulatory balance

Jonathan Delafield-Butt, Susanne Harder, Mette Væver, Simo Køppe

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Human dialogue composes narratives, or stories that unfold social meaning. Narratives are episodes of story-making composed of a general four-part structure that (i) opens, (ii) builds, (iii) reaches a climax of intensity, and (iv) recedes to quiescence again. This basic structure is present in episodes of early mother-infant proto-conversation. Their co-creation appears to be a foundational process that gives shared meaning to interpersonal relations. In infancy, these shared events last around ten to fifteen seconds and are enacted by gesture and voice that altogether create a story with expressive timing in common rhythm and with a shared rise, climax, and quiescence of excitement. Here, I present an analysis of movement and vocal data recorded from five mother-infant pairs at four, seven, ten, and thirteen months of age to identify narrative events, their frequency, and their importance in generating attunement for affective co-regulation within the dyad.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010
EventWorld Congress of the World Association for Infant Mental Health, Leipzig - Leipzig, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jul 2010 → …


ConferenceWorld Congress of the World Association for Infant Mental Health, Leipzig
CountryUnited Kingdom
Period1/07/10 → …


  • non verbal narrative
  • meaning making
  • infant mental health

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