Infant Crying pp 217-239 | Cite as

Aversiveness is in the Mind of the Beholder

Perception of Infant Crying by Adults
  • Ann D. Murray


The research reported in this chapter grew out of a long-standing interest in the compelling nature of infant cries and their seemingly paradoxical capacity to elicit either nurturant or hostile responses from caregivers. On the one hand, the biological significance of the cry for survival seems obvious (Bowlby, 1969), but crying also may be maladaptive because it is so frequently cited as a major trigger for child abuse (Frodi & Lamb, 1980; Lester & Zeskind, 1982). Furthermore, if crying has adaptive significance, it seems odd that parental sensitivity and responsiveness to crying are reported to vary so widely between cultures (Mead & Newton, 1967). In primitive and traditional societies, the city is treated as an emergency signal and responded to immediately, but in Western cultures, responses are delayed, and infants may cry for several hours each day.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ann D. Murray
    • 1
  1. 1.High Risk Infant Development LaboratoryBoys Town National Institute for Communication Disorders in ChildrenOmahaUSA

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