Depressed mothers' newborns show less discrimination of other newborns' cry sounds

Tiffany Field, Miguel Diego, Maria Hernandez-Reif, Mercedes Fernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Newborns' crying in response to the cry of another newborn has been called an empathetic response. The purpose of this study was to determine whether newborns of depressed mothers showed the same response. Newborns of depressed and non-depressed mothers were presented with cry sounds of themselves or other infants, and their sucking and heart rate were recorded. The newborns of non-depressed mothers responded to the cry sounds of other infants with reduced sucking and decreased heart rate. In contrast, the newborns of depressed mothers did not show a change in their sucking or heart rate to the cry sounds of other infants. This lesser attentiveness/responsiveness to other infants' cry sounds may predict their later lack of empathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-435
Number of pages5
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Discrimination cry sounds
  • Newborns of depressed mothers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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