ERIC Number: EJ872994
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 27
Understanding Early Communication Signals in Autism: A Study of the Perception of Infants' Cry
Esposito, G.; Venuti, P.
Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, v54 n3 p216-223 Mar 2010
Background: Previous studies have highlighted that episodes of crying of children with autistic disorder (AD) were perceived as inexplicable from their parents who could not identify causative factors. These results supported the view of AD as related to a problem of expressing and sharing emotions. Moreover, no evidence has been presented on which characteristics of a cry episode influence the adult perception. Aim of our research is to investigate how acoustical features of crying episodes modulate their perception of infants with ASD compared with infants with typical development (TD) and infants with developmental delay (DD). Methods: Two studies were employed. In study 1, we artificially modified structural parameters (fundamental frequency, duration of the pauses, waveform modulation) of a cry episode, and then 50 adults (parents and non-parents) were asked to judge the level of distress elicited. In study 2, acoustic analysis was applied to episodes of crying selected from retrospective home videos of 42 children with AD, TD and DD at 18 months. Results: The results showed that (1) differences in the fundamental frequency and in other structural parameters of the cry lead parents and non-parents to perceive an episode of crying as more aversive and (2) at 18 months of age, AD episodes of crying have higher fundamental frequency (f0). Conclusion: Our findings offer support for the hypothesis that acoustic characteristics of episodes of crying of children with autism, especially higher fundamental frequencies, may account for mental states of uneasiness in the listener.
Descriptors: Autism, Crying, Infants, Acoustics, Developmental Delays, Nonverbal Communication, Adults, Parents, Video Technology, Toddlers, Listening, Auditory Stimuli
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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