Fundamental frequency of neonatal crying: Does body size matter?
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Summary: The objective of this study was to determine the influence of fetal growth on the fundamental frequency (F0) of neonatal crying in a group of healthy full term infants. The spontaneous cries of 131 infants were audio recorded during the first week of life, and subsequently submitted to acoustic analyses. The individual cry utterances produced by each infant were measured for minimum, mean, and maximum F0. The infants were placed into one of three groupings (low, average, high) based on body size indices according to the ponderal index (PI), the ratio of body weight to body length (BW/L), and body weight (BW) alone. The F0 features of infants in each sub-grouping of body size were compared and contrasted. The results indicated that features of cry F0 were found to decrease marginally as a function of increased body size, with significant group differences confined to maximum F0. The BW index appeared to be the most sensitive measure in differentiating infant groups according to body size. In general neonatal body size appears to have a slight, although non-significant influence on the vocal F0 of crying in healthy full term infants. Any body size related changes in cry F0 are likely to be found for maximum F0 and may reflect stress-related variations in nervous system activation.