London, Three-month-old babies can recognise human voices and
make out when your're sad.
A UK study shows that the brain areas devoted to processing speech, develop
quicker than suspected and could provide new insights into autism.
Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London
started by getting a group of babies adjusted to brain scanners, reports the
journal Current Biology.
The tots, aged between three and seven months, then had their brains scanned
as various familiar noises were played while they slept.
The initial experiment examined whether the tots could differentiate between
human and non-human noises, according to the Daily Mail.
This revealed that coughing, sneezing, yawning, lapping water reminiscent of
bath time and the squeaking of toys, all activated a part of the brain known
to process speech. But human sounds lit it up far more.
The researchers then checked whether the babies' brains reacted differently
to happy, sad and neutral noises.
This time, a brain area linked to emotion, sprung to life, with crying
triggering it more than laughter or neutral sounds. Researcher Evelyne
Mercure said it was rare to see such specialised brain regions so early in
Co-researcher Anna Blasi added: 'It is probably because the human voice is
such an important social cue that the brain shows an early specialisation
for its processing. This may represent the very first step in social
interactions and language learning.'
Courtesy:Indo Asian News Service, IANS