Research Repository

Infants Attend Longer to Controlling versus Supportive Directive Speech

Gerson, Sarah and Weinstein, Netta and Gattis, Merideth and Paulmann, Silke (2019) 'Infants Attend Longer to Controlling versus Supportive Directive Speech.' Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 187. p. 104654. ISSN 0022-0965

Infant_prosody_JECP_PrePrint.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (224kB) | Preview


Directive communications play a critical role in infants’ and young children’s daily routines as they are regularly guided by close others. An extensive literature describes two ways of directing action, autonomy support and control. These motivational qualities are thought to be especially important to development since they shape well-being, learning, and exploration. The way in which such motivations are communicated through tone of voice may be especially important for preverbal infants, who respond to tone more than words. At present, there is little understanding of what role these motivational qualities expressed through tone of voice play in directive speech. To fill this gap in our understanding, we conducted an experiment with 39 infants ranging in age from 9-12 months. Infants were presented with validated directive phrases previously recorded by current day-care staff members in autonomy-supportive and controlling tones. Results showed infants attended longer to controlling tones than to autonomy-supportive ones, evidencing their ability to discriminate between motivational qualities at this early age. Implications for early learning and well-being are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: infants; prosody; motivation; early development; attention; self-determination theory
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2019 13:21
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:01

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item