Born with a love of speech

Do human newborns develop their preference for speech through in-utero eavesdropping, or is their penchant for speech innate? It's a bedevilling question to test, but one that's central to understanding the origins and dynamics of humans unique propensity for speech. Now a McGill University psychologist believes she's separated out the complicating effects of the uterine sound barrier. And the results, says Dr. Athena Vouloumanos, point to a genetic predilection for listening in on speech above other similar sounds.

"It's well established that neonates have a preference for speech above other sounds, but where does this come from? Is it something that's built in and there's something about the speech signal that they're tuned to listen to without the benefit of experience, or does it come from their prenatal experience in the womb? I think we've shown that there's an experience-independent component to newborns' preference for speech," says Dr. Vouloumanos, an Assistant Professor in McGill's Department of Psychology in Montreal, Canada.

She'll be presenting the findings of her latest research at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in St. Louis, February 17th.

Neural and cochlear development is such that at about six months gestation the fetus begin to hear a range of frequencies. Thus, there's the possibility that newborns preferentially listen to speech because they're used to it from their in-utero tuning-in.

But, which speech sounds actually get through the uterine sound barrier to the fetus? According to Dr. Vouloumanos, the best evidence indicates that the uterine environment acts as a low-pass filter. This means that only very low, deep sounds those below about 400 Hertz make it to a fetus' ear.

Dr. Vouloumanos and colleagues developed a painstaking two part experimental procedure to separate out possible in-utero exposure from innate predisposition.

At the core of th

Contact: Athena Vouloumanos
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Essential tones of music rooted in human speech
2. US hearing health, better telephone speech
3. Improved speech without vocal cords
4. Genetic cause of speech defect discovered
5. New research puts a fresh spin on current thinking of speech evolution in humans
6. Grasping metaphors: UC San Diego research ties brain area to figures of speech
7. Audiovisual integration of speech falters under competing demands for attention
8. New insight into brain and speech promises help for learning disabilities

Post Your Comments:

(Date:5/16/2017)...   Bridge Patient Portal , an enterprise ... EMR Systems , an electronic medical record solutions ... established a partnership to build an interface between ... Centricity™ products, including Centricity Practice Solution (CPS), Centricity ... new integrations will allow healthcare delivery networks using ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... , April 18, 2017  Socionext Inc., a global expert ... a media edge server, the M820, which features the company,s hybrid ... software provided by Tera Probe, Inc., will be showcased during the ... the NAB show at the Las Vegas ... ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... Fla. , April 11, 2017 ... and secure authentication solutions, today announced that it ... Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to develop ... Thor program. "Innovation has been a ... IARPA,s Thor program will allow us to innovate ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... BALTIMORE, Md. (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 ... ... for digital pathology, announced today it will be hosting a Webinar titled, “Pathology ... of  Advanced Pathology Associates , on digital pathology adoption best practices and how ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... A new study published in ... and fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer cycles. The multi-center matched ... , After comparing the results from the fresh and frozen transfer cohorts, the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... Center’s FirstHand program has won a US2020 STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the ... for Excellence in Volunteer Experience from US2020. , US2020’s mission is to change ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... USDM Life Sciences , ... life sciences and healthcare industries, announces a presentation by Subbu Viswanathan and Jennifer ... “Automating GxP Validation for Agile Cloud Platforms,” will present a revolutionary approach to ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: