CE28 - Cognition, éducation, formation tout au long de la vie

The baby's cry: An integrative approach – BABYCRY

Submission summary

Crying is the primary signaling strategy available to the human newborn for eliciting parental care. Yet, we only have superficial understanding of the information carried by cries, and of how this information modulates parents’ interpretation and response to cries. Using modern tools of sound processing and playback experiments coupled with physiological monitoring, this project will investigate both the information content of cries and the factors influencing the behavioral and the brain responses of adults to cries elicited by different levels of stress. The project will consist of 4 major tasks: Task 1 will focus on how the variability of the crying signal can code for the level and the type of stress. Task 2 will investigate how caregivers perceive stress information in cries. Task 3 will investigate the effects of familiarization to a given baby on caregivers’ perception of cries. Task 4 will test if/how sex and cultural factors affect caregivers’ perception of cries. We will use a multidisciplinary approach involving sound analysis, psycho-acoustic experiments, fMRI experiments, and physiological investigations. Because our project is highly innovative, using novel, cutting-edge methods (e.g. re-synthetized sound signals, real-time monitoring of autonomic nervous activity coupled to real-time analysis of cry) to investigate an important question - the form and function of babies’ cries - we expect to publish our results in top-ranked international journals (we have yet published a paper in Nature Communications). The project’s Principal Investigator has an excellent record of publications, as well as recognized skills in project management. We have designed our tasks to take maximum advantage of a high collaborative action between partners. The feasibility of most aspects of the project has been already demonstrated. We have identified a technological lock that will be removed thanks to tight collaboration between partners. We expect that the project will have a high impact at both scientific and societal levels.

Project coordination

Nicolas MATHEVON (Institut des Neurosciences Paris Saclay)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


UJM/Neuro-PSI Institut des Neurosciences Paris Saclay
UJM/SNA- EPIS Système Nerveux Autonome, Epidémiologie, Physiologie, Ingénierie, Santé - EA 4607
EPHE/CHArt Cognitions humaine et artificielle (CHArt)
UJM/CRNL Centre de Recherche en Neurosciences de Lyon

Help of the ANR 366,342 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2019 - 48 Months

Useful links

Explorez notre base de projets financés



ANR makes available its datasets on funded projects, click here to find more.

Sign up for the latest news:
Subscribe to our newsletter