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Browsing by Subject "early language development"

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  • Lepistö, Santeri (2023)
    Efficient processing of auditory information begins to emerge early in human ontogeny and establishes foundations for learning language from speech exposure. Here we show that repeated exposure to spoken words causes in neonatal brain attenuated neural responses that are linked to language skills at the age of 24 months. In the study, 75 newborn infants were exposed to repeated presentation of two spoken disyllabic pseudowords. During the word exposure, event-related potentials to presented pseudowords were measured with electroencephalography. The study provides three kinds of findings regarding neonatal brain dynamics and repetitive word exposure. Firstly, the results show that continuous exposure to spoken pseudowords modulates neonatal brain activity and can lead to attenuation of neural responses. This neural suppression likely reflects neonates’ early capacity to recognize spoken words and form neural representations of the stimuli through repetition. Secondly, the attenuated neural responses were bound to the presentation of the first syllable and did not occur after presentation of the second syllable. Thirdly, occurrence of neonatal neural suppression was associated with better expressive language skills later, at the age of 2 years. Altogether, the results provide preliminary evidence that neonatal brain responses to word repetition can be utilized to indicate efficiency of learning language from speech exposure and later state of language development.