Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

David S. Moore

Reader 2

Norma Rodriguez

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2013 Daniel K. Feinberg


Existing literature demonstrates that infants can discriminate between categories of infant-directed (ID) speech based on the speaker’s intended message – that is, infants recognize the difference between comforting and approving ID speech, and treat different utterances from within these two categories similarly. Furthermore, the literature also demonstrates that infants understand many aspects of music and can discriminate between happy and sad music. Building on these findings, the present study investigated whether exposure to happy or sad piano music would systematically affect infants’ preferences for comforting or approving ID speech. Five- to nine-month-old infants’ preferences for comforting or approving ID speech were examined as a function of whether infants were exposed to sad or happy piano music. Seventeen (10 male, 7 female) full-term, healthy infants were included in the study. It was hypothesized that relative to infants exposed to happy music, infants exposed to sad music would demonstrate a stronger desire to hear comforting ID speech. The study employed an infant controlled, preferential looking procedure to test this hypothesis. The results of the study did not statistically support the researchers’ hypotheses. Limitations of the present work and suggestions for future research are discussed.