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Infant Behav Dev. 2007 Dec;30(4):535-45. Epub 2007 Jun 29.

Infant-directed speech produced by fathers with symptoms of depression: effects on infant associative learning in a conditioned-attention paradigm.

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Department of Psychology, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, 80217-3365, United States.


Infant-directed (ID) speech produced by fathers who varied in their number of self-reported symptoms of depressed was analyzed for differences its ability to promote infant voice-face associative learning. Infants of fathers with elevated scores on the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) showed significantly poorer learning than did infants of fathers with non-elevated BDI-II scores when their fathers' ID speech served as a conditioned stimulus for a face reinforcer in a conditioned-attention paradigm. Fathers with elevated BDI-II scores produced ID speech with marginally significantly lower F0 variability than fathers with non-elevated BDI-II scores. However, F0-related cues were uncorrelated with infant learning. Overall, fathers' ID speech contained significantly less F0 modulation than did mothers' ID speech. These findings show that paternal depression, like maternal depression, adversely affects infant learning in a conditioned-attention paradigm.

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