Infants' memory for musical performances

Dev Sci. 2006 Nov;9(6):583-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2006.00536.x.


We evaluated 6- and 7-month-olds' preference and memory for expressive recordings of sung lullabies. In Experiment 1, both age groups preferred lower-pitched to higher-pitched renditions of unfamiliar lullabies. In Experiment 2, infants were tested after 2 weeks of daily exposure to a lullaby at one pitch level. Seven-month-olds listened significantly longer to the lullaby at a novel pitch level than at the original pitch level. Six-month-olds showed no preference but their low-pitch preference was eliminated. We conclude that infants' memory for musical performances is enhanced by the ecological validity of the materials. Moreover, infants' pitch preferences are influenced by their previous exposure and by the nature of the music.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child Development*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Memory*
  • Mental Recall*
  • Music*
  • Pitch Perception*
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Retention, Psychology