Maternal Sensitivity and The Healing Power of Empathy: Tests To Measure Maternal Sensitivity

Maternal sensitivity is defined as a mother’s ability to perceive, successfully translate, and appropriately respond to her infant’s behavioral cues. Psychologists believe that children of mothers with a high level of maternal sensitivity tend to be healthier and display higher levels of social and cognitive ability than children of mothers with low levels of maternal sensitivity. Psychologists have developed a number of tests to determine maternal sensitivity levels.

One of those tests, the Ainsworth Maternal Sesitivity Scale the was developed by developmental psychologist Mary D. Salter Ainsworth., a developmental psychologist and contemporary of John Bowlby. In Ainsworth’s view, the ability to correctly interpret an infants non-verbal communication depends upon three factors:

  • Awareness
  • Freedom from distortion
  • Empathy