Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-dknvm Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-28T19:25:57.280Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Perceptual responses to infant crying: identification of cry types*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 September 2008

E. Müller
Communication Sciences Laboratory, University of Florida
H. Hollien
Communication Sciences Laboratory, University of Florida
T. Murry
Veterans Administration Hospital, San Diego


This report describes a perceptual study on the ability of mothers to perceptually differentiate cry samples elicited by three different stimulus situations. In some instances mothers were evaluating cries produced by their own infant; in other cases they judged those produced by infants with whom they were unfamiliar. The results of the investigation indicated that the eighteen mothers were generally unable to successfully match the cry samples with the three cry-evoking situations. Further, no differential advantage was found when mothers were judging samples produced by their own infant.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1974

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



This research was supported in part by NIH grant NS-06459. We are also grateful for the assistance of Mrs Joan Murry who worked with the infants, and the eight mothers who allowed their children to be used as subjects.



Aldrich, C. A., Sung, J. & Knopp, C. (1945). The crying of newly born babies. J Pediat 26. 313.Google Scholar
Berry, M. & Eisenson, J. (1956). Speech disorders: principles and practice of therapy. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
Eisenson, J., Auer, J. & Irwin, J. (1963). The psychology of communication. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
Illingworth, R. S. (1955). Crying in infants and children. BMJ i. 75–8.Google Scholar
Nurnberger, J., Ferater, C. & Brody, J. (1963). An introduction to the science of human behavior. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
Sherman, M. (1927). The differentiation of emotional responses in infants. Ability of observers to judge emotional characteristics of crying of infants and of voice of adults. JCompPsych 7. 335–41.Google Scholar
Valanne, E. H., Vuorenkoski, V., Partanen, T. J., Lind, J. & Wasz-Höckert, O. (1964). The ability of human mothers to identify the hunger cry signals of their own newborn infants during the lying-in period. Experientia 23. 768.Google Scholar
Wasz-Höckert, O., Partanen, T. J., Vuorenkoski, V., Valanne, E. H. & Michelsson, K. (1964 a). Identification of specific meaning in infant vocalization. Experientia 20. 154–5.Google Scholar
Wasz-Höckert, O., (1964 b). Effect of training on ability to identify preverbal vocalizations. DevMedChNeurol 6. 393–6.Google Scholar