Singing to infants matters: early singing interactions affect musical preferences and facilitate vocabulary building

Franco, Fabia ORCID logoORCID:, Suttora, Chiara, Spinelli, Maria, Kozar, Iryna and Fasolo, Mirco (2022) Singing to infants matters: early singing interactions affect musical preferences and facilitate vocabulary building. Journal of Child Language, 49 (3) . pp. 552-577. ISSN 0305-0009 [Article] (doi:10.1017/S0305000921000167)

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This research revealed that the frequency of reported infant-parent singing interactions predicted 6-month-old infants' performance in laboratory music experiments and mediated their language development in the second year. At 6 months, infants (n=36) were tested using a preferential listening procedure assessing their sustained attention to instrumental and sung versions of the same novel tunes whilst the parents completed an ad-hoc questionnaire assessing home musical interactions with their infants. Language development was assessed with a follow-up when the infants were 14-month-old (n=26). The main results showed that 6-month-olds preferred listening to sung rather than instrumental melodies, and that self-reported high levels of parental singing with their infants[i] were associated with less pronounced preference for the sung over the instrumental version of the tunes at 6 months, and [ii] predicted significant advantages on the language outcomes in the second year. The results are interpreted in relation to conceptions of developmental plasticity.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Family music; song; language acquisition; infant preferences
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 31899
Notes on copyright: © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Depositing User: Fabia Franco
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2021 08:52
Last Modified: 26 May 2022 08:45

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