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October 2021

Child-directed speech produced by mothers with symptoms of depression fails to promote associative learning in 4-month-old infants

Author(s): Bachorowski, J. A., ZarlengoStrouse, P.

Journal/Book: Child Develop. 1999; 70: 350 Main Street, Ste 6, Malden, MA 02148, USA. Blackwell Publishers. 560-570.

Abstract: Child-directed (CD) speech segments produced by 20 mothers who varied in self-reported symptoms of depression, recorded during a structured play interaction with their 2- to 6-month-old infants, were used as conditioned stimuli with face reinforcers in a conditioned attention paradigm. After pairings of speech segments and faces, speech segments were assessed for their ability to increase time spent looking at a novel checker-board pattern (summation test) using 225 4-month-old infants of nondepressed mothers. Significant positive summation, an index of associative learning, was obtained in groups of infants tested with speech produced by mothers with comparatively fewer self-reported symptoms of depression (Beck Depression Inventory or BDI less than or equal to 1.5). However, significant positive summation was not achieved using speech samples produced by mothers with comparatively more symptoms of depression (BDI > 1.5). These results indicate that the CD speech produced by mothers with symptoms of depression does not promote associative learning in infants.

Note: Article Kaplan PS, Univ Colorado, Dept Psychol, Campus Box 173, POB 173364, Denver,CO 80217 USA

Keyword(s): MATERNAL DEPRESSION; INTONATION CONTOURS; EXPRESSION; FEATURES; FACES; PREFERENCE; ATTACHMENT; INTENSITY; BEHAVIOR; NEWBORNS


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