Paola Zanchi Mirco Fasolo Maria Spinelli Laura Zampini Chiara Suttora Nicoletta Salerni

The Role of Acoustic and Contextual Features in the Recognition of Crying Causes

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Crying represents one of the main means of infant communication during their first months of life. Although several researchers dealt with the exploration of the acoustic characteristics of different cries, as well as with the investigation of the role played by cries in determining the stress in the caregiver and the maternal ability to recognize its causes, some questions are still open. This study has three main aims: to describe the acoustic characteristics of different types of crying; to verify if and to which extent crying correct identification is based on contextual and/or acoustic indices; finally, to identify which acoustic characteristics mainly influence the levels of stress perceived and, in turn, if this stress influences the identification of the reason of crying. 8 mother-child dyads (6-month-old) were included in the study. The results show that the cry fundamental frequency is the acoustic characteristic that most allows the classification of the different cries and the only one that significantly correlates with the stress perceived by the caregiver. However, the acoustic characteristics seem to be not sufficient for parents for a correct identification of their own baby cry's cause.


  • Infant Cry
  • Acoustic Features
  • Distress Ratings
  • Cry Types
  • Graded Signals


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