Newborns and Human Speech

Even a five-day-old newborns is able to recognize a human speech from the other sounds.

 

This is evident from the results of the Japanese-French research study team, which investigates brain activity of the youngest children. It seems that this finding will be the beginning of the next research studies about the brain development of a child.

 

Twelve five-days-old newborns from France have participated in this research conducted by the Japanese and the French scientists from the Advanced research Laboratory and Laboratory de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique.

 

The scientists used the optical topography method (using the infrared rays) to measure the changes in a blood flow in the brain cortex of the newborns. First, a newspaper article was read to the children and then the same text was played to them again, but this time it was read backwards. The investigators of the study found out that in the first case, the blood flow in the brain cortex was doubled in comparison to the second case (reading backward). In addition to that, it was also shown that already at such a young age, the brain hemispheres are highly specialized. Throughout the experiment, a greater activity was always demonstrated by the left hemisphere which plays an essential role in speech capabilities.

 

According to the head of the research team, Hideaki Koizumi, the newborns are able to recognize a human speech according to the rhythm and intonation of the voice.

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