The effects of singing styles and language familiarity in delaying distress in 6 -8 month old infants
Presenter Name:Zehra Karademir
School/Affiliation:Goldsmiths University of London
Co-Authors:Caspar Addyman, Lauren Stewart, and Jan de Fockert
Music is a highly effective modulator of infants’ arousal, but a particular singing style (i.e., soothing or playful) influences their behavioural responses to music. Infants exhibit calm and relaxing behaviour when listening to lullabies, while lively songs bring out more positive affect and engagement in them. The aim of the present study was to investigate the roles of positive affect and language familiarity in delaying distress while increasing attention in infancy. Twenty-two 6- to 8-month-old infants were tested using a within-subjects design with the onset of distress used as a dependent variable. Infants heard a female voice singing in either a lively/joyful, or a neutral ID manner in their native language (English) and a foreign language (French). There were eight trials in total, and they were presented within two blocks (Figure 1). Each audio recording played continuously until an infant exhibited a negative facial expression (e.g., a crying face) to the song. Findings of the study showed that infants presented latency in distress later for joyful songs (2.5 min) than for neutral songs (1.5 min), regardless of the language familiarity of the songs (Figure 2). Moreover, they were more attentive to the songs at the beginning of the trial than at the end of the trial (Figure 3). These findings extend the importance of singing styles in regulating infants’ arousal and mood.