The acoustic characteristics of crying behavior displayed in 2 groups of newborn infants are reported. The crying episodes of 10 full-term and 10 preterm infants were audio recorded and analyzed with regard to the long-time average spectrum (LTAS) characteristics. An LTAS display was created for each infant's non-partitioned crying episode, as well as for 3 equidurational partitions of the crying episode. Measures of first spectral peak, mean spectral energy, and spectral tilt were revealing of differences between full-term and preterm infants' non-partitioned crying episodes. In addition, the full-term infants demonstrated significant changes in their crying behavior across partitions, whereas the preterm infants changed little across the crying episode. Discussion focuses on possible differences between full-term and preterm infants in their neurophysiological maturity, and the subsequent impact on their speech development. The importance of examining entire crying episodes when evaluating the crying behavior of infants is also discussed.
KEY WORDS: acoustic analysis, infant, cry, long-time average spectrum, pain
Submitted on June 25, 1998
Accepted on February 10, 1999