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Frontal cerebral blood flow change associated with infant-directed speech
  1. Y Saito1,
  2. S Aoyama2,
  3. T Kondo3,
  4. R Fukumoto3,
  5. N Konishi2,
  6. K Nakamura2,
  7. M Kobayashi2,
  8. T Toshima1
  1. 1Department of Psychology, Graduate School of Education, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan
  2. 2Department of Pediatrics, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan
  3. 3Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, Tokyo University, Tokyo, Japan
  1. Correspondence to:
    Y Saito
    Department of Psychology, Hiroshima University, Kagamiyama 1-1-1, Higashi-Hiroshima, Hiroshima 739-8524, Japan; yuri{at}


Objective: To examine the auditory perception of maternal utterances by neonates using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS).

Methods: Twenty full-term, healthy neonates were included in this study. The neonates were tested in their cribs while they slept in a silent room. First, two probe holders were placed on the left and right sides of the forehead over the eyebrows using double-sided adhesive tape. The neonates were then exposed to auditory stimuli in the form of infant-directed speech (IDS) or adult-directed speech (ADS), sampled from each of the mothers, through an external auditory speaker.

Results: A 2 (stimulus: IDS and ADS) × 2 (recording site: channel 1 (right side) and channel 2 (left side)) analysis of variance for these relative oxygenated haemoglobin values showed that IDS (Mean = 0.25) increased brain function significantly (F = 3.51) more than ADS (Mean = −0.26).

Conclusions: IDS significantly increased brain function compared with ADS. These results suggest that the emotional tone of maternal utterances could have a role in activating the brains of neonates to attend to the utterances, even while sleeping.

  • ADS, adult-directed speech
  • F0, fundamental frequency
  • IDS, infant-directed speech
  • NIRS, near-infrared spectroscopy
  • oxy-Hb, oxygenated haemoglobin
  • SPL, sound-pressure level

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  • This work was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research to T Toshima from the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (A: 14201012).

  • Competing interests: None declared.

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