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The effects of intonation on infant attention: the role of the rising intonation contour*

  • Joseph W. Sullivan (a1) and Frances Degen Horowitz (a2)

Abstract

The study was designed to investigate 2-month-old infant preferential attention to a feature found to be characteristic of mothers' speech to their infants. A modified infant-control auditory preference paradigm was employed to assess infants' differential attention to synthetically generated and naturally produced rising and falling intonation contours. Analysis of these data revealed that the infants attended more to the rising naturally produced intonation contour. A reverse pattern of greater attention to the falling contour was found with the synthetically generated stimuli. In addition, inspection of the results permitted the conclusion that the infant-control preference paradigm was a viable method for assessing the 2-month-old infant's preferential attention to auditory stimuli. The results are discussed in terms of their relevance to the study of the infant's developing language reception abilities.

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The effects of intonation on infant attention: the role of the rising intonation contour*

  • Joseph W. Sullivan (a1) and Frances Degen Horowitz (a2)

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