BabyLab research: “Playsongs and Lullabies”


MARCS BabyLab researchers Alison Creighton and Christine Kitamura recently completed the "Playsongs and Lullabies" project at MARCS BabyLab.

The study found that singing to your baby establishes a parent-infant bond in a very different way to the type of bonding that occurs through talking to your baby.

Although research has found that mother-infant singing is a unique form of emotional communication, little is known of how singing contributes to the mother-infant bond. Bonding with your child involves being connected and interacting on a personal and emotional level.

Emotional communication involves three elements:

  1. Sharing and amplifying positive emotions
  2. Soothing or calming distress or negative emotions
  3. Taking joy in your child

All of these elements are crucial to developing a healthy bond.

Reciprocity is another important ingredient of emotional communication. When an interaction is reciprocal there is no dominant leader who 'runs the show'. Instead, both you and your child 'bounce off each other' and continually respond to each other's reactions to co-create the direction and shape of the interaction.

You can find out more about research conducted at MARCS BabyLab by visiting our research page.