Prenatal experience with language shapes the brain

Bendetta Mariani, Giorgio Nicoletti, Giacomo Barzon, Maía Clemencia Ortíz Barajas, Mohinish Shukla, Ramon Guevara, Samir Suweis, Judit Gervain

Published in Science Advances 9 (47), eadj3524, 2023

Recommended citation: Bendetta Mariani, Giorgio Nicoletti, Giacomo Barzon, Maía Clemencia Ortíz Barajas, Mohinish Shukla, Ramon Guevara, Samir Suweis, Judit Gervain. Prenatal experience with language shapes the brain. Science Advances 9 (47), eadj3524 (2023).

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Abstract

Human infants acquire language with striking ease compared to adults, but the neural basis of their remarkable brain plasticity for language remains little understood. Applying a scaling analysis of neural oscillations for the first time to address this question, we show that newborns’ electrophysiological activity exhibits increased long-range temporal correlations after stimulation with speech, particularly in the prenatally heard language, indicating the early emergence of brain specialization for the native language.