Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mom's voice plays special role in activating newborn's brain

Date:
December 17, 2010
Source:
Université de Montréal
Summary:
A mother's voice will preferentially activate the parts of the brain responsible for language learning, say researchers. The research team made the discovery after performing electrical recordings on the infants within the 24 hours following their birth.

Researchers applied electrodes to babies' heads to analyze their brain activity.
Credit: Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre

A mother's voice will preferentially activate the parts of the brain responsible for language learning, say researchers from the University of Montreal and the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre. The research team made the discovery after performing electrical recordings on the infants within the 24 hours following their birth.

Related Articles


The brain signals also revealed that while the infants did react to other women's voices, these sounds only activated the voice recognition parts of the brains. "This is exciting research that proves for the first time that the newborn's brain responds strongly to the mother's voice and shows, scientifically speaking, that the mother's voice is special to babies," said lead researcher Dr. Maryse Lassonde of the University of Montreal's Department of Psychology and the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre.

Brain exploration had never before been undertaken on such young participants. "We applied electrodes to the heads of 16 babies while they were sleeping," Lassonde explained, "and we asked the mother to make the short 'A' vowel sound -- like in the French word 'allô.' We then repeated the exercise with the female nurse who brought the baby to the lab. When the mother spoke, the scans very clearly show reactions in the left-hemisphere of the brain, and in particular the language processing and motor skills circuit. Conversely, when the stranger spoke, the right-hemisphere of the brain reacted. The right-hemisphere is associated with voice recognition."

"Motherese" -- the special voice mother's use to communicate with their babies -- is scientifically recognized. The researchers took this into account by involving a nurse who is herself a mother, and they also countered the "novelty" aspect by arranging for the mother to meet with the nurse at regular intervals before the birth. Finally, speech analysis was used to ensure that the mother's voice and the voices of the other woman were sufficiently comparable.

It was already well known that babies have some innate language capacities, but researchers are only just beginning to understand what these capacities are and how they work. For example, when a baby hears the "A" sound, he or she will make the mouth shapes needed to imitate this noise, even if he or she has never seen it spoken. "This research confirms that the mother is the primary initiator of language and suggests that there is a neurobiological link between prenatal language acquisition and motor skills involved in speech," Lassonde said. The research was published in Cerebral Cortex and received funding from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the Canada Research Chairs programme.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Université de Montréal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Beauchemin, B. Gonzalez-Frankenberger, J. Tremblay, P. Vannasing, E. Martinez-Montes, P. Belin, R. Beland, D. Francoeur, A.-M. Carceller, F. Wallois, M. Lassonde. Mother and Stranger: An Electrophysiological Study of Voice Processing in Newborns. Cerebral Cortex, 2010; DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhq242

Cite This Page:

Université de Montréal. "Mom's voice plays special role in activating newborn's brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101215195234.htm>.
Université de Montréal. (2010, December 17). Mom's voice plays special role in activating newborn's brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101215195234.htm
Université de Montréal. "Mom's voice plays special role in activating newborn's brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101215195234.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins