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Mental Health Watch

Mother's Depression May Affect Baby's Development

Published Online: Saturday, June 1, 2002   [ Request Print ]

A depressed mother?s reduced use of ?baby talk? may affect her baby?s learning, according to findings reported in Psychological Science. Researchers found that 4-month-old infants of women with depression did not learn to associate their mother?s voice with the image of a smiling female face, while infants with nondepressed mothers did. However, the infants of the depressed mothers did show strong learning in response to the voice of an unfamiliar nondepressed woman. The authors concluded that the flatter tones used by depressed mothers when speaking to their infants may lead to learning deficiencies in their children.

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