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Babies react best to ‘happy sounds’

By Tim Sandle     Jan 13, 2014 in Health
Babies seem to react best to certain sounds (dubbed "happy sounds" by a research team). Scientists are starting to figure out exactly why these sounds are so alluring to infants.
According to a new study, babies are attracted to “happy” noises, whether these are songs or words. This is the finding from a report written for the journal Frontiers in Psychology. In preference tests, babies seemed more interested in happy-sounding “baby talk” than hummed songs.
To measure this, through experiments, each sound, either a song or speech pattern, was linked to a computer monitor showing a carousel. According to Science News, when a baby looked at a particular monitor for a long time, researchers assumed the baby preferred that associated sound.
In a second experiment , the babies did not seem to mind whether song lyrics were sung happily or spoken happily. The cheery delivery was all that seemed to matter when the reactions of the babies were examined.
The inference was that young babies may not be able to distinguish between songs and speech, as long as the noises are happy. Overall, it was shown that a happy voice quality rather than vocal mode (speech or singing) was the principal contributor to infant attention.
The title of the research paper is “Speech vs. singing: infants choose happier sounds.” The finding is part of a body of work examining how babies communicate.
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