Prenatal auditory experience with melodies : effects on postnatal auditory preferences in human newborns

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Robin Kay Panneton (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Anthony J. DeCasper

Abstract: It has recently been demonstrated that human newborns prefer a story their mothers had read aloud while pregnant over an unfamiliar story. It is unclear from these results, however, whether the newborns were using word information, non-word information (e.g., rhythmic structure) or both in their postnatal recognition of the story. The present study was conducted to determine if prenatal experience with non-word information was sufficient to produce a postnatal preference. Pregnant women who were close to term sang a melody everyday for the rest of their pregnancies. Their infants were tested postnatally with a choice procedure in which they could listen to the familiar melody or an unfamiliar melody. The melodies differed only in their prosodic characteristics (eg., frequency contours). A previous experiment had demonstrated that non-experienced newborns could discriminate between these two melodies. Analyses of preferential responding showed that the prenatally experienced newborns preferred the familiar melody over the unfamiliar melody whereas a control group of non-experienced newborns showed no systematic preference. These results are consonant with our understanding of the fetal auditory system and the intrauterine sound environment.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1985
Auditory perception in infants
Mother and infant

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