Effects of Parental Interaction on Infant Vocalization Rate, Variability and Vocal Type

Beau Franklin, Anne S. Warlaumont, Daniel Messinger, Edina Bene, Suneeti Nathani Iyer, Chia Chang Lee, Brittany Lambert, D. Kimbrough Oller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Examination of infant vocalization patterns across interactive and noninteractive contexts may facilitate better understanding of early communication development. In the current study, with 24 infant-parent dyads, infant volubility increased significantly when parent interaction ceased (presenting a "still face," or SF) after a period of normal interaction ("face-to-face," or FF). Infant volubility continued at the higher rate than in FF when the parent re-engaged ("reunion," or RE). Additionally, during SF, the variability in volubility across infants decreased, suggesting the infants adopted relatively similar rates of vocalization to re-engage the parent. The pattern of increasing volubility in SF was seen across all of the most common speech-like vocal types of the first half-year of life (e.g., full vowels, quasivowels, squeals, growls). Parent and infant volubility levels were not significantly correlated. The findings suggest that by six months of age infants have learned that their vocalizations have social value and that changes in volubility can affect parental engagement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-296
Number of pages18
JournalLanguage Learning and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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