Vocal and Facial Expression Matching in Infants of Mothers with Depressive Symptoms

Brenda Lundy, Tiffany Field, Maricel Cigales, Anai Cuadra, Jeffrey Pickens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This study investigated vocal and facial expression matching in 24 10-month-old infants. Half of the mothers had reported depressive symptoms [i.e., elevated scores on the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Index (CES-D)] during the previous week. Infants were tested using a two-screen preference procedure in which they were presented side-by-side videos of different facial expressions modeled by one female reciting a children's story. A centrally located speaker was used to present a vocal expression soundtrack that matched one of the facial expressions. Separate analyses of variances (ANOVAs) were conducted to analyze the proportion total matching and proportion total looking to the happy and sad expressions. Infants of mothers who reported depressive symptoms displayed less accurate matching of the happy facial and vocal expressions and looked more to sad facial expressions compared to infants of mothers who had not reported depressive symptoms above the normal range. Infants' performance on the expression matching task appears to be related to their primary caregivers' reports of depressive symptoms during the previous week. However, other factors that may be related to the group differences also need to be considered. For example, maternal reports of depressive symptoms may be a marker for other underlying factors that may have affected their infants' performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-273
Number of pages9
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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