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Sandra E Trehub, Anna M Unyk, and Laurel J Trainor (1993)

Adults identify infant-directed music across cultures

Infant Behavior and Development, 16(2):193–211.

Paired excerpts of lullabies and comparison songs from different areas of the world were presented to Western adult listeners, who were required to identify the lullaby in each pair. In Experiment 1, when presented with original field recordings, adults successfully differentiated the lullabies from the other songs. In Experiment 2, this effect was replicated with a more diverse sample of listeners. In addition, feedback about correct performance failed to improve the accuracy of lullaby identification. In Experiment 3, adults successfully identified the lullabies even when all songs were electronically filtered to remove the words. In Experiment 4, adults were unsuccessful in lullaby identification when the melodies were synthesized to remove residual cues associated with voice quality. However, performance on the synthesized materials was correlated with performance on the original materials. Parallels between infant-directed music and infant-directed speech are noted.

infants, music, lullabies, songs

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