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October 2021

Distinctive messages in infant-directed lullabies and play songs

Author(s): Trainor, L. J., Addison, T. L.

Journal/Book: Develop Psychol. 1999; 35: 750 First St NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, USA. Amer Psychological Assoc. 527-534.

Abstract: Mothers were recorded singing a song of their choice in both a lullaby style and a play-song style to their 6-month-olds. Adult raters identified the play-song-style and lullaby-style versions with 100% accuracy. Play-song-style renditions were rated as being more brilliant, clipped, and rhythmic and as having more smiling and more prominent consonants. Lullaby-style renditions were characterized as being more airy, smooth, and soothing. Adults observed videotapes (without sound) of 6-month-olds listening to alternating lullaby-style and play-song-style trials and performed at above chance levels when determining which music the infants were hearing. Coding analyses revealed that infants focused their attention more toward themselves during lullaby-style trials and more toward the external world during play-song-style trials. These results suggest that singing may be used to regulate infants' states and to communicate emotional information.

Note: Article Trainor LJ, McMaster Univ, Dept Psychol, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1, CANADA

Keyword(s): MOTHERS SPEECH; PROSODIC FEATURES; VOCAL AFFECT; PREFERENCE; FATHERS; INTONATION; LANGUAGES; CONTOURS; MUSIC


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