Central auditory processing of durational changes in complex speech patterns by newborns: an event-related brain potential study.

Cognitive Brain Research Unit, Department of Psychology, P.O. Box 13, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland.
Developmental Neuropsychology (Impact Factor: 2.67). 02/2001; 19(1):83-97. DOI: 10.1207/S15326942DN1901_6
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In this study, newborns' ability to discriminate durational changes in the fricative /s/ within a nonsense word was investigated. The results showed that infrequent increments and decrements of a speech sound duration elicit a mismatch negativity kind of response in sleeping human newborns. In the auditory event-related potential to these deviant stimuli two negative waves of this response were revealed. The first negative wave peaked at about 150 msec and the second at about 350 msec after the change onset. At least one negative deflection, which was interpreted as evidence for stimulus change-detection, was observed in every infant.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Recent research has shown that specific areas of the human brain are activated by speech from the time of birth. However, it is currently unknown whether newborns' brains also encode and remember the sounds of words when processing speech. The present study investigates the type of information that newborns retain when they hear words and the brain structures that support word-sound recognition. Forty-four healthy newborns were tested with the functional near-infrared spectroscopy method to establish their ability to memorize the sound of a word and distinguish it from a phonetically similar one, 2 min after encoding. Right frontal regions-comparable to those activated in adults during retrieval of verbal material-showed a characteristic neural signature of recognition when newborns listened to a test word that had the same vowel of a previously heard word. In contrast, a characteristic novelty response was found when a test word had different vowels than the familiar word, despite having the same consonants. These results indicate that the information carried by vowels is better recognized by newborns than the information carried by consonants. Moreover, these data suggest that right frontal areas may support the recognition of speech sequences from the very first stages of language acquisition.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2012; DOI:10.1073/pnas.1205413109 · 9.81 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study examined how maturation and the size of deviance affect the development of mismatch responses to Mandarin lexical tones by a multi-deviant oddball paradigm with both large deviant T1/T3 and small deviant T2/T3 pairs in newborns and 6-month-olds. The T1/T3 pair elicited a positive mismatch response (P-MMR) at birth but an adult-like mismatch negativity (MMN) at 6 months of age. For the T2/T3 pair, no significant MMR was seen in newborns, whereas a P-MMR was found when infants are 6 months old. Results suggest that the developmental trajectories of MMRs are dependent on the neural maturation and the discriminability of tonal changes.
    Developmental Neuropsychology 07/2013; 38(5):281-300. DOI:10.1080/87565641.2013.799672 · 2.67 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Research on neonatal cognition has developed very recently in comparison with the long history of research on child behavior. The last sixty years of research have provided a great amount of evidence for infants' numerous cognitive abilities. However, only little of this research concerns newborn infants. What do we know about neonatal cognition? Using a variety of paradigms, researchers became able to probe for what newborns know. Amongst these results, we can distinguish several levels of cognitive abilities. First, at the perceptual or sensory level, newborns are able to process information coming from the social world and the physical objects through all their senses. They are able to discriminate between object shapes and between faces; that is, they are able to detect invariants, remember and recognize them. Second, newborns are able to abstract information, to compare different inputs and to match them across different sensory modalities. We will argue that these two levels can be considered high-level cognitive abilities: they constitute the foundations of human cognition. Furthermore, while some perceptual competencies can stem from the fetal period, many of these perceptual and cognitive abilities cannot be a consequence of the environment surrounding the newborn before birth.
    03/2013; 3(1):154-69. DOI:10.3390/bs3010154