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Infant Behav Dev. 2015 Aug;40:41-53. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2015.03.001. Epub 2015 May 26.

A cross-cultural comparison of tonal synchrony and pitch imitation in the vocal dialogs of Belgian Flemish-speaking and Mexican Spanish-speaking mother-infant dyads.

Author information

1
Research Group Interpersonal, Discursive and Narrative Studies (IDNS), Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address: mvpuyvel@vub.ac.be.
2
Research Group Interpersonal, Discursive and Narrative Studies (IDNS), Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussels, Belgium; Universidad Católica Boliviana "San Pablo" La Paz (UCB), Bolivia.
3
Research Group Interpersonal, Discursive and Narrative Studies (IDNS), Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussels, Belgium.
4
VIPER Research Unit, Royal Military Academy (RMA), Brussels, Belgium; Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussels, Belgium.
5
Centro de Estudios e Investigaciones en Comportamiento (CEIC), Faculty of Psychology, University of Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Mexico.

Abstract

This study reports a cross-cultural comparison of the vocal pitch patterns of 15 Mexican Spanish-speaking and 15 Belgian Flemish-speaking dyads, recorded during 5min of free-play in a laboratory setting. Both cultures have a tradition of dyadic face-to-face interaction but differ in language origins (i.e., Romanic versus Germanic). In total, 374 Mexican and 558 Flemish vocal exchanges were identified, analyzed and compared for their incidence of tonal synchrony (harmonic/pentatonic series), non-tonal synchrony (with/without imitations) and pitch and/or interval imitations. The main findings revealed that dyads in both cultures rely on tonal synchrony using similar pitch ratios and timing patterns. However, there were significant differences in the infants' vocal pitch imitation behavior. Additional video-analyzes on the contingency patterns involved in pitch imitation showed a cross-cultural difference in the maternal selective reinforcement of pitch imitation. The results are interpreted with regard to linguistic, developmental and cultural aspects and the 'musilanguage' model.

KEYWORDS:

Contingency patterns; Cross-cultural research; Infant-directed speech; Mother–infant vocal interactions; Musilanguage; Pitch patterns; Proto-musicality; Tonal synchrony; Vocal imitation; Vocal universal aspects

PMID:
26021806
DOI:
10.1016/j.infbeh.2015.03.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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