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Prenatal Motherese? Newborn Speech Perception May Be Enhanced by Having a Young Sibling
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by Tian Zhao, Christine Moon, Hugo Lagercrantz, and Patricia Kuhl - Pacific Lutheran University
Prenatal experience with infant- and child-directed
speech (IDS/CDS) may affect newborns’ speech perception. We
examined this possibility using an existing neonatal database from
a recent cross-language study (Moon, Lagercrantz, & Kuhl, 2011).
Seventy-three American and Swedish neonates (Mage = 32.58 hr,
SD = 13.58 hr) were retrospectively coded as either having High
(n = 32) or Low (n = 41) prenatal IDS/CDS exposure based on
whether there were any children younger than 4 years old in the
household during pregnancy. We compared the mean sucks for
contingent presentations of prototypes and nonprototypes of vowel
stimuli (native or foreign) among groups. A mixed 3-way ANOVA
revealed a significant interaction: Neonates responded to prototypes
and nonprototypes differently in the High IDS/CDS group, whereas
there was a lack of differential responses in the Low IDS/CDS group.
Future research with well-controlled measurement of prenatal
speech is warranted.
Summer 2011 | Psi Chi Journal of Undergraduate Research (Vol. 16, No. 2, p. 90), published by Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology (Chattanooga, TN). Copyright, 2011, Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology. All rights reserved.