Critical Observation Paper

The study of social psychology in the behavioral observation of a crying infant.


An infant crying is a behavioral trait of all new born babies. An infant’s first instinct when born is to cry. Why do infants cry? When infants cry it can be for a various amount of reasons. As a parent it is their responsibility to figure out what is wrong and keep the infant from crying. The research method used is naturalistic observation. The subject is observed in its natural setting, so there is no influence on its behavior. This paper provides awareness of why infants may cry and what one can do to prevent this.

Critical Observation Paper

Subject A being the parent was observing subject B being the infant. Subject A observes that subject B cries for various reasons. When an infant expresses a need to cry it is the parents responsibility to find out why they are crying. A primary trait of infants is to cry when they want to communicate their needs and discomforts that require some attention. The parent primarily needs to make sure the infant is not in any pain or discomfort that requires any medical attention. Once that is accomplished its all about trial and error.

Infants who cry excessively may have gastrointestinal problems which, is a form of abdominal pain (Illingworth 1954). This form of abdominal pain is called “colic” which is a crying behavior in infants (Illingworth 1954). During these crying episodes parents need to be more attentive and loving to the infant. Calmly acknowledging and accepting their feelings may be what the infant needs.

When infants cry it may be difficult to know why they are crying. There are many ways to find out why the infant is indeed crying. For example, subject B is crying and subject A feeds the infant. The infant is not crying anymore. Now subject A realizes the reason the infants was crying was because it was hungry. Some methods to try when an infant is crying is to rock or simply try to distract the infant with singing or talking etc.


Naturalistic Observation is the best method used in this situation since the subject is an infant. This observation method operates well when using it on infants because it prevents any abuse or forcing them to cry for an observation. Using this method for the reason that researchers can observe how infants react in the natural setting. For instance, an infant’s reaction to their mother leaving the room in their own home would be different to a mother leaving the room in a stranger’s home.

Gathering information on why infants cry, the researcher chooses to study a large group of infants rather than an individual infant. For instance, an individual infant that is chosen could be a special case and be an infant who has colic, diaper rash, or an ear infection. The infant who has colic, diaper rash, or an ear infection is going to cry more than the infants that do not. The group method can increase the results of the observation because more than one infant is being used for the observation.

In order for the research to be impartial, this observation consisted of more than one observer. Therefore, the research could be compared and would not be one sided. This method would ensure that the researcher is not making an opinion of the observation rather than a general view. The infants would also be monitored by video, so that the observation can be viewed in different perspectives. The researchers would in addition randomly pick infants for the observation. Case in point, picking infants from different parts of the country would prevent the observation from being prejudice because the infants are different ethnic backgrounds. In the observation the infants would be treated equally and attend to their needs in the same way.

These methods would increase the observation to be accurate and truthful. The Naturalistic observation method can be a predicament. The only way to make an observation is for the infant to be crying. Since the infant can not be influenced in anyway the researcher has to wait for the infant to go through an emotion.


Crying is an infant’s way to communicate to their parents