Sing for me, Mama! Infants' discrimination of novel vowels in song

Falk, Simone, Fasolo, Mirco, Genovese, Giuliana, Romero-Lauro, Leonor and Franco, Fabia ORCID logoORCID: (2021) Sing for me, Mama! Infants' discrimination of novel vowels in song. Infancy, 26 (2) . pp. 248-270. ISSN 1525-0008 [Article] (doi:10.1111/infa.12387)

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When adults speak or sing with infants, they sound differently than in adult communication. Infant-directed (ID) communication helps caregivers to regulate infants’ emotions, and helps infants to process speech information, at least from ID-speech. However, it is largely unclear whether infants might also process speech information presented in ID-singing. Therefore, we examined whether infants discriminate vowels in ID-singing, as well as potential differences with ID-speech. Using an Alternating-Trial-Preference-Procedure, infants aged 4-6 and 8-10 months were tested on their discrimination of an unfamiliar non-native vowel contrast presented in ID-like speech and singing. Relying on models of early speech sound perception, we expected that infants in their first half year of life would discriminate the vowels, in contrast to older infants whose non-native sound perception should deteriorate, at least in ID-like speech. Our results showed that infants of both age groups were able to discriminate the vowels in ID-like singing, while only the younger group discriminated the vowels in ID-like speech. These results show that infants process speech sound information in song from early on. They also hint at diverging perceptual or attentional mechanisms guiding infants’ sound processing in ID-speech vs. -singing towards the end of the first year of life.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Volume26, Issue2, March/April 2021
Keywords (uncontrolled): Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health, Developmental and Educational Psychology
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 31898
Notes on copyright: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Falk, S., Fasolo, M., Genovese, G., Romero‐Lauro, L. and Franco, F. (2021), Sing for me, Mama! Infants' discrimination of novel vowels in song. Infancy, 26: 248-270, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
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Depositing User: Fabia Franco
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2021 08:48
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2022 04:55

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