Acoustic development and maternal interpretation of human baby cry

[Speaker] Nonaka, Yulri:1,2,3
[Co-author] Aucouturier, Jean-julien:3,4, Katahira, Kentaro:3,5, Okanoya, Kazuo:1,2,3
1:The University of Tokyo (Japan), 2:RIKEN, BSI (Japan), 3:JST, ERATO (Japan), 4:IRCAM, CNRS (France), 5:Nagoya University (Japan)

Baby cry in humans persist during infancy. This is a unique behavior among primates. Past studies discussed the proximate and ultimate causes of such early cry in humans but no consensus has been reached. To promote better understanding of crying behavior from social aspect in daily life, thirty-five infant-mother dyads during the first year of age were studied from recorded cries from the babies and verbal reports from the mothers. Results indicated that mothers attributed various meanings to their baby's cries: they judged physiological and social needs of the babies from a very early stage. Acoustical analysis revealed that each infant progressively adopts distinct vocal signatures of pitch and expiration rate for different needs. Our observations suggested that the cry and its interpretation develop mutually between baby and mother through daily contact. This process may potentially promote the differentiation of emotional expressions in early infancy. (Supported by JST-ERATO)
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