Date of Completion

12-2-2010

Embargo Period

1-1-2001

Open Access

Open Access

Abstract

Neural control of newborn crying has typically been considered to originate primarily in the lower brain centers, although support for this assumption is limited. To address this, the present study manipulated newborn infants’ perceptual experience during a cry bout through use of delayed auditory feedback (DAF). Atypical cry productions during DAF would suggest that newborn crying is under higher levels of cortical control than previously assumed. Infants’ spontaneous crying was recorded for 2 minutes at 4 weeks of age (n=16) and again at 8 weeks of age (n=17) using an ABA design, alternating synchronous feedback with DAF. Standard repeated-measures 2 (age) x 3 (condition) ANOVAs found DAF effects for mean proportion of energy in the lower frequency bands and its variability and an interaction effect for variability in cry duration. Multilevel modeling, however, revealed several more DAF effects, again for mean proportion of energy in the lower frequency bands, but also for other acoustic variables such as maximum frequency, duration, and variability in the mean F0. Future research using DAF or other manipulations is needed to further clarify the neurophysiological processes that control newborn cry production and to examine the links between early cry production and later developmental outcomes.

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