Young adults' reactions to infant crying
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SourceInfant Behavior and Development, 38, (2015), pp. 41-48
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI ON
Infant Behavior and Development
AIM: To determine whether young childless adults show negative emotions and cognitive disturbances when listening to infant crying, compared to other disturbing noises, and whether negative emotions and cognitive disturbances are associated. METHODS: We tested the cognitive performances and emotional reactions of 120 childless participants on a working memory task while being subjected to different disturbing noises including infant crying. RESULTS: Participants had the least correct trials on the working memory task, and showed the most negative emotions, when hearing infant crying as compared to the other noises. Participants also showed less positive emotions when hearing infant crying as compared to working in silence. Overall, negative emotions were associated with less correct trials on the working memory task, except in the infant crying condition. Furthermore, cognitive performance and emotional reactions to infant crying were unrelated to personality characteristics. CONCLUSION: Negative emotions and cognitive disturbances may be general adult responses to infant crying that are not limited to parents. These results suggest a broadly present human emotional and cognitive response to infant crying, that may underlie a general predisposition to care for infants in distress.
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