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Oct 22, 2018

7th Congress of the European Academy of Paediatric Societies

08 - EMOTION ATTRIBUTION IN NONVERBAL VOCAL COMMUNICATION DIRECTED TO PRETERM INFANTS IN THE NICU

prematurity

early vocal contact

maternal voice

family centered care

materrnal separation

Abstract

Abstract

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Keywords

prematurity

early vocal contact

maternal voice

family centered care

materrnal separation

Abstract

Background and aims. The first weeks of life for preterm babies are critical for bonding and attachment. This study tested the emotional and smiling content of the mother’s speaking and singing voice in early contact with newborn preterm infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The main hypothesis is that the emotional content of maternal speech and song, when directed to their preterm infants placed in incubators, is modulated by the infants’ behaviors. Methods. Thirty-two blocks of vocal extracts in the presence and absence of preterm infants’ displays and in the 5 seconds preceding each display were presented to 31 adult naïve listeners, who were asked to rate the degree of emotion and smile in the vocal samples. Results. The present study shows that when infants open the eyes or smile the maternal voice is perceived as more emotional and more smiling than it is in the absence of any facial display. This effect is particularly evident in the maternal speech. The maternal voice is rated as more smiling in the presence of the infant’s smile than when preterm infants opened the eyes. Conclusions. This study extends prior findings by showing that maternal ID speech and songs, even in at-risk conditions such as prematurity, are not only related to preterm infant behavior, but also bear emotional content. Early face-to-face interactions between mothers and preterm infants need to be encouraged in the NICU and investigated, especially neural correlates, to assess the impact of emotional infant-directed voices on preterm infants’ development.

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© Copyright 2019 Morressier GmbH.
All rights reserved.