Chapter Six (Continued)
Audition and auditory perception:
Brain wave patterns, heart rate change and activity level observed on ultrasound
scans reveal responses to vibrio acoustic stimulation.
Newborns prefer to listen to sounds they could hear before birth. They also prefer
to listen to the sound of the mother's voice.
By six months, babies are able to detect and discriminate numerous features of
sound such as frequency and intensity almost as well as adults do.
The ability to locate a sound in space by turning their heads or eyes in the
direction of the sound.
Patterns of sound:
Two and three month olds can recognize changes in tempo and intervals between
brief bursts of sound that denote simple rhythmic change. At six months to one
year they begin to distinguish more between more complex rhythms and patterns
Infants prefer to listen to a song or lullaby directed by an adult to another infant
over the same song or lullaby by the adult singing alone and a lower pitched
lullaby over a higher pitched lullaby.
The smallest unit of sound that affects the meaning of a word is called a
phenome. They are complicated bursts of acoustic energy.
Some believe that babies are born with a "speech module" an innate capacity to
detect and process the subtle and complicated sounds that make up human
language. Another theory says that phenome discriminate hinges on broader, more general
auditory capacities, capacities not limited to processing speech sounds of even
necessarily unique to humans but that infants are able to exploit quite early in
Categorical perception, the classification of sounds as the same even when they
differ on some continuous physical dimension except when on opposite sides of a
Smell, taste, touch and sensitivity to pain:
Smell, facial expression, changed in rate of respiration, blood flow in the brain
and head turning are just a few of the responses indicating that newborns detect
odors. Humans may inherit some family olfactory signature about which