A baby operated tape player

Susan Blackmore and Tom Troscianko
1984 Bulletin of the British Psychological Society 37 A53 (abstract)

Commercially available tapes and other devices produce sounds supposed to send babies to sleep, but it is not known whether babies would choose to listen to them for long periods.

A device was developed which allows a baby to listen to either of two tapes for any length of time by pulling handles suspended in the cot. Experiments with a baby from age four months showed that she would play various tapes for long periods and could express consistent preferences between tapes.

The device allows for many experiments on auditory preferences in infants. Its possible role in learning and in comforting babies during the night is discussed.

From BabyTape to Quiet Night

Now you can buy one!

When Tom and I built the first device we soon discovered that our own babies loved it and when they woke in the night would play with it instead of waking us up so often – terrific!

Results from testing our friends’ babies were so impressive that we hoped to develop the device commercially. We called it BabyTape (yes, it was all based on cassette tapes in those days). In fact this never happened, although Tom was trying to develop a new version when he died in 2011. A team in California has now, in March 2015, taken up the idea and is selling a much updated product as ‘Quiet Night’.