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From mother’s mouth to infant’s brain
  1. Marilyn Augustyn,
  2. Barry Zuckerman
  1. Department of Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine 5, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr M Augustyn
    Boston Medical Center, 91 East Concord Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA; augustyn{at}bu.edu

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Perspective on the paper by Saito et al (see page 113)

It is well documented that newborns and even fetuses know their own mother’s voice: non-nutritive sucking1 and fetal heart rate increase2 in response to the mother’s voice compared with the voice of a stranger. Even with this recognition by the infant, one observes that parents adjust their speech to their infants by exaggerating sounds and pitch as well as their facial expressions, opening their mouths wider and raising their eyebrows. This is called infant-directed speech in the article by Saito et al3 in this issue, formerly referred to as “motherese” or “parentese”. Although no one “teaches” parents to speak …

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