Second trimester babies respond to speech before speech centers have developed: study

Another death blow to “clump-ism”

Researchers penetrating the development of the child in the womb discovered that at just 29 weeks’ gestation, the neurons in a preterm baby’s brain are already reacting differently to different sounds (ba versus ga) and different voices (masculine versus feminine), well before the brain’s centers of speech have fully developed and migrated to their final location.

Researchers, who said they are astounded by the process, called an unborn baby’s development of linguistic functions a “sophisticated organization” that remained “elusive” to them.

Researchers used functional optical imaging on babies at 28 weeks gestation — the earliest age at which cortical responses to external stimuli can be recorded — to evaluate the babies’ brain responses to syllables.

Unable to materially account for how a baby could begin responding to his mother’s voice even before the linguistic function of the baby’s brain was fully formed, the researchers concluded that “regions involved in linguistic processing and social communication in humans” is influenced by unknown “innate factors”.(Source)

 

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