Mothers' singing to infants and preschool children

Tonya R. Bergeson, Sandra E. Trehub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations


Mothers were recorded singing two versions of the same song, one to their infants and the other to their preschool children. In Experiment 1, naive adult listeners accurately identified the infant-directed versions from each pair of mothers' songs. Pitch was higher for the infant-directed versions but tempo and intensity did not differ across contexts. In Experiment 2, naive listeners judged which version of each pair sounded more "loving" and which had clearer enunciation of lyrics. The versions sung to preschoolers were rated as more clearly enunciated than those sung to infants. Although there were no differences in "loving" tone of voice, "loving" ratings of infant-directed versions predicted identification accuracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-64
Number of pages14
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Age-differences
  • Infants
  • Mothers
  • Preschool
  • Singing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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