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July 1955

Voice Physiology and the Emergence of New Vocal Styles

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Speech Clinic of the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital.

AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1955;62(1):50-58. doi:10.1001/archotol.1955.03830010052007

The earliest act performed by a human infant after breathing is instituted is to cry. This first cry is an unconscious reflex act, evoked by the change of temperature, by the stimulation of the air on the skin, and by the light on the eye. During the first weeks the crying continues to be a reflex act, evoked by hunger and pain. Very soon, however, the infant realizes that when he cries his mother comes to feed him, to calm him, and to change his diapers. From now on, crying becomes a conscious, intentional act. As early as around the fifth or sixth week, an observant mother can distinguish between the crying of hunger and pain and the sounds which the infant produces thanks to pleasurable sensations. More and more, the crying is used to express a range of different feelings, is evaluated accordingly, and becomes a source of information for the environment.

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