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Evolution of Emotional CommunicationFrom Sounds in Nonhuman Mammals to Speech and Music in Man$
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Eckart Altenmüller, Sabine Schmidt, and Elke Zimmermann

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583560

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583560.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 January 2022

Infant crying and the synchrony of arousal

Infant crying and the synchrony of arousal

(p.155) Chapter 10 Infant crying and the synchrony of arousal
Evolution of Emotional Communication

Philip Sanford Zeskind

Oxford University Press

The communicative and emotional significance of the cry of the newborn and young infant is examined within a conceptual framework that focuses on a synchrony of arousal between infant and caregiver behavioral systems. Support for four basic elements of this framework are presented: (1) Infant crying results from changes in neurobehavioral mechanisms that produce nonspecific changes in the intensity of infant arousal; (2) Changes in the intensity of infant arousal are reflected in a graded and dynamic acoustic signal; (3) This graded signal affects the intensity of the arousal system of the caregiver in a synchronous, graded manner and (4) Specific responses to the cry are mediated by the receiver’s subjective affective state. The elements are further illustrated by examining responses to an unusually high-pitched cry sound found in infants at risk for physical child abuse. The significance of this conceptual framework for development and evolutionary models is considered.

Keywords:   infant crying, caregivers, synchrony of arousal, conceptual framework, neurobehavior, adult perceptions, acoustic characteristics, child abuse

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