Beauchemin, M. et al. (2011)
Mother and Stranger: An Electrophysiological Study of Voice Processing in Newborns
Cereb Cortex. 21(8): 1705-11

pdfMother and Stranger: An Electrophysiological Study of Voice Processing in Newborns (full summary)

and

Grossmanm, T. et al. (2010)
The Developmental Origins of Voice Processing in the Human Brain
Neuron 65(6): 852-858

  • These two papers both concern how infants learn to recognize and to respond to human voices.
  • The first study measured brain responses of healthy newborn infants to short sounds recorded by their mothers and by female strangers.
  • Even the youngest infants (about eight hours old) responded differently and more actively to their mothers’ voices than to unfamiliar ones, with the response to the mother’s voice involving a brain region associated with language acquisition.
  • The second study investigated the responses of healthy four- and seven-month old infants to voices spoken with different emotions and to neutral sounds.
  • The seven-month-old infants, but not the four-month-olds, responded differently to happy, angry and neutral voices.
  • This may have implications for the treatment of people with autism and similar conditions, who have difficulty recognizing emotions from voice tones.