Can temperament be understood at birth? The relationship between neonatal pain cry and their temperament: a preliminary study

Infant Behav Dev. 2010 Jun;33(3):266-72. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2010.02.001. Epub 2010 Mar 7.


This study investigated the relationship between the pain cries of neonates at 3-5 days and temperament at 1 month of age, as rated by mothers. A total of 68 healthy neonates' pain cries elicited by injection of the hepatitis B virus vaccine were analyzed and were categorized into "pre-part" and "post-part" cry by the determination of a regulatory point by observers, with a high consensus on spectrogram profiles. Differences in parameters between the pre-part and post-part of the pain cries and their association with the dimensions of temperament were analyzed. The results indicated that neonates who exhibited greater intensity pre-part crying had a more positive mood quality at 1 month, and those with shorter breath intervals after the regulatory point had a higher activity temperament score at 1 month. Moreover, the higher the pitch or the shorter the duration of the cry sounds in the post-part, the lower the adaptability score at 1 month. This study demonstrates that neonatal pain cry parameters could be used to understand subsequent temperament behavioral styles.

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Crying / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Infant Behavior / psychology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Mothers
  • Motor Activity
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Personality Tests
  • Reaction Time
  • Respiration
  • Sound Spectrography
  • Temperament*
  • Time Factors


  • Hepatitis B Vaccines