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Kiss: A Developmental Milestone or a Culture-Determined Skill?

Am J Dis Child. 1992;146(6):663-664. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160180021009.
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Sir.—Kissing is a complex gesture and has been considered part of the developmental process. Toward the end of infancy, the child shows increasingly greater capability to handle integrated actions. A gesture becomes the vector of organized thought. The perceptual-motor functions of the child begin to have potential application to many situations and assume the characteristic sociodramatic nature of the world in which he or she lives.1 Training through education or imitation plays a dominant role in the learning of complex gestures like kissing, naming a body part, or blowing the nose.

True kissing is the ability of the child to press the lips on cheeks with or without sound, on verbal request. It is a complex gesture. Dargassies2 has shown that 15% of children at age 12 months and 95% of children at age 15 months attempt to kiss; 24% of children at age 15 months


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