Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mother's Depression Impedes Baby's Development

Date:
May 25, 1999
Source:
Center For The Advancement Of Health
Summary:
When depressed mothers talk to their babies, their speech lacks many of the familiar characteristics of "baby talk" and may consequently hamper their children's ability to learn language and other skills.

When depressed mothers talk to their babies, their speech lacks many of the familiar characteristics of "baby talk" and may consequently hamper their children's ability to learn language and other skills.

Researchers have found a significant difference in associative learning between infants who listened to voice samples from women who were depressed and women who were not.

"We found that depressed mothers who were trying to interest their infants in a toy - a stuffed gorilla - said the word 'gorilla' in a voice with relatively flat pitch. This raised the possibility that infants, who are known to react more strongly to speech high in pitch modulation, would not learn well about the world around them when prompted with speech uttered by depressed caregivers," said Peter S. Kaplan, a professor of psychology at the University of Colorado at Denver. This may help to explain why older children of depressed mothers frequently perform more poorly than other children on standard tests of child development.

Kaplan, along with Jo-Anne Bachorowski of Vanderbilt University and Patricia Zarlengo-Strouse of the University of Colorado at Denver, reported their findings in the current issue of Child Development.

In their study of 225 four month olds, the researchers examined "associative learning, a basic and ubiquitous form of learning in infants." During a series of trials, the infants heard a woman say, "Pet the gorilla," and then saw a smiling woman's face. Later, to test if infants had learned to associate the voice and face, the researchers tracked how much time infants spent looking at a newly introduced checkerboard pattern while the voice played.

Infants who heard women with low or moderate symptoms of depression spent significantly more time observing the checkerboard pattern compared with those who listened to severely depressed women. Prior research had shown that when the voice had not predicted the appearance of the face, it did not increase interest in the checkerboard pattern. The researchers also analyzed the characteristics of the women's voices. Less depressed women tended to change the pitch of their voice over a greater range compared with depressed women, who used a relatively more monotone delivery.

The researchers speculate that these pitch changes and other elements of baby talk serve to "increase the infant's state of arousal and, while in that state, infants ... process information more efficiently or completely." When depressed women speak to babies, however, their voices lack "the acoustic qualities [necessary] to sensitize infants," they say.

Previous research has shown that two and three-year-old children do better learning language when it is presented with the pitch changes and simplified grammar of baby talk rather than typical adult speech. Dr Kaplan and his colleagues suggest that depressed mothers may offer their infants relatively poor stimulation, leading to delays in acquiring language and other cognitive milestones.

The research was supported with funds from the Swan Foundation of Denver and from a National Institute of Mental Health grant.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Center For The Advancement Of Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Center For The Advancement Of Health. "Mother's Depression Impedes Baby's Development." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/05/990525061511.htm>.
Center For The Advancement Of Health. (1999, May 25). Mother's Depression Impedes Baby's Development. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/05/990525061511.htm
Center For The Advancement Of Health. "Mother's Depression Impedes Baby's Development." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/05/990525061511.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins