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Colleen T O'Neill, Laurel J Trainor, and Sandra E Trehub (2001)

Infants' responsiveness to fathers' singing

Music Perception, 18(4):409-425.

Fathers were recorded singing a song once to their infants and once in the absence of their infants. Adults readily identified fathers' infant-directed renditions and rated them as more rhythmic, loving, and appropriate for infants than the infant-absent renditions. Unlike mothers, however, fathers did not consistently raise the pitch of their infant-directed versions. Moreover,infants showed no preference for infant-directed over infant-absent versions unless the infant-directed versions were higher in pitch. Nevertheless, infants showed greater visual attention when listening to fathers' singing than to mothers' singing. The results confirm that a distinctive infant-directed style is used by singing fathers as well as mothers, that pitch height is a salient dimension of songs for infant listeners, and that fathers' singing in general is highly engaging to infant listeners.

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