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Helping babies feel happier

1 August 2017

Mother and father with baby girl

A new study by researchers at Cardiff University is aiming to find out more about the messages that babies understand not only from words but also through tone of voice.

Led by Dr Netta Weinstein of the School of Psychology, the study will look at the different types of positive messages that babies aged between 10-12 months understand.

Babies will be shown a series of pictures on a screen and played short sentences to find out whether and how tone of voice can motivate them.

Dr Weinstein said: “In many situations, babies understand the meaning of what is said to them before they understand the words. Research has shown that babies can distinguish between positive and negative messages such as warnings and soothing by 5 months old.

“In our study, we are especially interested in how voices can help babies feel happier and more self-confident. In other words, we are interested in how voices motivate babies...”

Dr Netta Weinstein

“We know that by the time a child begins school, motivational messages are important to how well they do in school. But we know very little about whether babies care about, or are affected by, the motivational messages that voices express.”

Dr Netta Weinstein

The researchers are looking for families with 10 to 12-month-old babies who are willing to take part in the short 15-minute study.

The study will take place at the new Cardiff University Centre for Human Developmental Science, and participants will be paid £7 for their time; babies will receive a toy as a thank you for their help.

If you are interested in participating please email Tiny to Tots for further details.

For more information visit the School webpages.