Infant brain responses to social sounds: A longitudinal fNIRS study.

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Infant brain responses to social sounds: A longitudinal functional near-infrared spectroscopy study.

Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2019 Mar 12;36:100638

Authors: McDonald NM, Perdue KL, Eilbott J, Loyal J, Shic F, Pelphrey KA

Infants are responsive to and show a preference for human vocalizations from very early in development. While previous studies have provided a strong foundation of understanding regarding areas of the infant brain that respond preferentially to social vs. non-social sounds, how the infant brain responds to sounds of varying social significance over time, and how this relates to behavior, is less well understood. The current study uniquely examined longitudinal brain responses to social sounds of differing social-communicative value in infants at 3 and 6 months of age using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). At 3 months, infants showed similar patterns of widespread activation in bilateral temporal cortices to communicative and non-communicative human non-speech vocalizations, while by 6 months infants showed more similar, and focal, responses to social sounds that carried increased social value (infant-directed speech and human non-speech communicative sounds). In addition, we found that brain activity at 3 months of age related to later brain activity and receptive language abilities as measured at 6 months. These findings suggest areas of consistency and change in auditory social perception between 3 and 6 months of age.

PMID: 30889544 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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