Document Detail

Language and the newborn brain: does prenatal language experience shape the neonate neural response to speech?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21960980     Owner:  NLM     Status:  PubMed-not-MEDLINE    
Previous research has shown that by the time of birth, the neonate brain responds specially to the native language when compared to acoustically similar non-language stimuli. In the current study, we use near-infrared spectroscopy to ask how prenatal language experience might shape the brain response to language in newborn infants. To do so, we examine the neural response of neonates when listening to familiar versus unfamiliar language, as well as to non language stimuli. Twenty monolingual English-exposed neonates aged 0-3 days were tested. Each infant heard low-pass filtered sentences of forward English (familiar language), forward Tagalog (unfamiliar language), and backward English and Tagalog (non-language). During exposure, neural activation was measured across 12 channels on each hemisphere. Our results indicate a bilateral effect of language familiarity on neonates' brain response to language. Differential brain activation was seen when neonates listened to forward Tagalog (unfamiliar language) as compared to other types of language stimuli. We interpret these results as evidence that the prenatal experience with the native language gained in utero influences how the newborn brain responds to language across brain regions sensitive to speech processing.
Lillian May; Krista Byers-Heinlein; Judit Gervain; Janet F Werker
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2011-09-21
Journal Detail:
Title:  Frontiers in psychology     Volume:  2     ISSN:  1664-1078     ISO Abbreviation:  Front Psychol     Publication Date:  2011  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-09-30     Completed Date:  2011-11-10     Revised Date:  2013-08-13    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101550902     Medline TA:  Front Psychol     Country:  Switzerland    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  222     Citation Subset:  -    
Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC, Canada.
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