IntroductionThis paper is based on the article “Fetal Reactions toRecurrent Maternal Speech” by Anthony J.

DeCasper, Jean-Pierre Lecanuet,Marie-Claire Busnel, Carolyn Granier-Deferre, and Roselyne Maugeais. Thearticle is centered about the idea of prenatal learning and the effects that awomen’s speech sounds have on prenatal experiences. In this overview we willsee the general background, experiment, and the discussion of the results.GeneralBackground            Theidea that the authors are focusing on is that a woman’s voice who is pregnantand is in the last 6 to 8 weeks influences a fetus’s heartbeat and movementwhile also having a positive effect on speech cues after birth.

Another effectof maternal speech is that it can influence the infant’s perception ofimportant language sounds. The understanding that a late-term fetus responds tosound is known but recent studies are being done to research the heartratechange in late-term fetuses to figure out the state of auditory perception inthose late-term fetuses (Lecanuet, Granier-Deferre, & Busnel, 1988). Whichleads into the experiment.Experiment            Thisexperiment was conducted with 28 women in their 35th week ofpregnancy. The women were split in half and each half were given a differentpoem to read to their fetus three time a day every day for 4 weeks (Lecanuet,Graner-Deferre, Cohen, Le Houezec, & Busnel, 1986). The test stimuli were arecording of a female graduate student and was played through a speaker overthe head of the fetus during the duration of this experiment.

Throughout theexperiment, the mother’s listened to guitar music at the level of intensitythat matched their own speech stimuli, and this prevented the mothers frominfluencing the fetus’s reactions to the poems.            Duringthis experiment, six stimulations were planned. Half the fetuses were givenTCTCCT as their order while the other half received CTCTTC as their order. Fromeach order, half would be exposed to one of the rhymes while the other halfwere exposed to the other rhyme (Lecanuet, Graner-Deferre, Cohen, Le Houezec,& Busnel, 1986).            Afterthe testing, three independent observers inspected each record in the hardcopyform entirely. The independent observers used screening methods to maximize thehigher chances of analyzing only data from the LV periods. The procedures usedwere similar to those used in other fetal studies as well (Lecanuet,Granier-Deferre, Cohen, Le Houeze, & Busnel, 1986; Lecanuet et al.

, 1987,1988, 1992).Discussion            Afterthe experiment came to an end, not all 28 fetuses were used in consideration. (DeCasperet al., 1992). After all the screening and judging, only 17 fetuses wereaccepted for analysis of data.             Animplication of the prenatal experience was confirmed that the heartrates of thefetuses decreased as a response to the target rhyme stimuli while theheartrates did not change as a response to the control rhyme stimuli. Theauthors conclude that the reactions that the fetuses had to the target wereinfluenced by their previous exposure to the target (DeCasper et al., 1992).

Theoverall study/experiment shows that the prenatal exposure to the “mother’stongue” can positively enhance the fetal reactions to important language speechsounds. Prenatal exposure of speech and non-speech sounds can also have agreatly positive influence on our perception of perceptual development,language and language development (DeCapser et al., 1992).


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