Speech-sound discrimination in neonates as measured with MEG
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Magnetic brain responses to speech sounds were measured in 10 healthy neonates. The stimulation consisted of a frequent vowel sound [a] with a steady pitch contour, which was occasionally replaced by the vowel [i:] with a steady pitch, or the vowel [a] with a rising pitch, manifesting a change of intonation. The magnetic mismatch-negativity response (MMNm) was obtained and successfully modelled to the speech sound quality change in all infants and to the intonation change in 6 infants. The present results indicate that auditory-cortex speech-sound discrimination may well be studied with magnetic recordings as early as in newborn infants.