Yuh-Mei Jong

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Gustafson, Gwen E.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Crying; Sound--Psychological aspects; Hearing


The purpose of these studies was to assess the roles that fundamental frequency and frequency with the peak amplitude in the spectrum (i.e., peak frequency) play in adults' perception of cry aversiveness and pitch. Twelve pairs of short cry segments were selected from a pool of 100 cries that had been subjected to spectral analysis. Four types of cry pairs were selected—6 pairs varied both fundamental and peak frequency (the parameters covaried positively in 3 of these pairs and covaried negatively in 3 pairs), 3 pairs were matched for fundamental frequency but varied in peak frequency, and 3 pairs were matched for peak frequency but varied in fundamental frequency. Five groups of 50 nonparent adults listened twice to each cry pair and chose one member of the pair as either more irritating, urgent, sick, spoiled, or high pitched, respectively. The results indicated that subjects were able to use fundamental frequency and peak frequency to judge cry aversiveness and pitch and that peak frequency was a more salient cue than fundamental frequency in the judgments about the cry. It seems clear that past studies of cry perception have neglected an important acoustic parameter in their focus on fundamental frequency.


Bibliography: pages 50-56.


viii, 94 pages




Northern Illinois University

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