The level of complexity of infants’ cries may help to predict which babies are at risk for language delays, new research suggests.
German researchers compared the cries of three groups of 2-month-old babies: 11 with a cleft lip and palate, 10 with cleft palate only and a control group of 50 unaffected infants.
In infants, a “simple cry melody” consists of a single rising and then falling arc, according to researchers. As children age, their cries become more complex. The ability to intentionally segment melodies by brief pauses, for example, eventually leads to syllable production.
By 2 months of age, healthy infants cries display complex melodies more than 50 percent of the time.
Those whose cries show less complexity are at a higher risk for poorer language development two years later.
So, should we make babies cry, to develop more complexity?