Associations between neonatal cry acoustics and visual attention during the first year [article]

Aicha Kivinummi, Gaurav Naithani, Outi Tammela, Tuomas Virtanen, Enni Kurkela, Miia Alhainen, Dana JH Niehaus, Anusha Lachman, Jukka Leppänen, Mikko Peltola
2019 bioRxiv   pre-print
It has been suggested that early cry parameters are connected to later cognitive abilities. The present study is the first to investigate whether the acoustic features of infant cry are associated with cognitive development already during the first year, as measured by oculomotor orienting and attention disengagement. Cry sounds for acoustic analyses (fundamental frequency; F0) were recorded in two neonatal cohorts at the age of 0-5 days (Tampere, Finland) or at 6 weeks (Cape Town,
more » ... . Eye-tracking was used to measure oculomotor orienting to peripheral visual stimuli and attention disengagement from central stimuli at 8 months (Tampere) or at 6 months (Cape Town) age. In the Tampere cohort, a marginal positive correlation between fundamental frequency of cry (F0) and visual attention disengagement was observed; infants with a higher neonatal F0 were slower to shift gaze away from the central stimulus to the peripheral stimulus. However, a similar correlation was not observed in the Cape Town cohort. No associations between F0 and oculomotor orienting were observed in either cohort. We discuss possible factors influencing the discrepancy in results between the cohorts and suggest directions for future research investigating the potential of early cry analysis in predicting later cognitive development.
doi:10.1101/658732 fatcat:g53bphiqbvfiznhhjpi5dpyfc4