Human newborns can propel themselves to their mother's breast when positioned skin to skin on her abdomen just after birth. For decades, researchers have considered this primitive crawling behavior a spinal reflex, immune to supra spinal control. However, recent research suggests that neonatal crawling is already responsive to visual and olfactory stimuli processed at a supra spinal level. Here we report that a few hours post birth, French newborns can also modulate their crawling in response to their native language – a source of information that is processed supra-spinally. The crawling patterns of 23 French-born newborns were recorded on video and via an infrared motion capture system during two randomly ordered 2-min trials. The newborns were secured on a mini skateboard to facilitate arm and leg movements during their crawling propulsion. They heard a repetitive sequence of the same sentences either in French, their native language, or in English, a rhythmically different and hence discriminable unfamiliar language, on each trial. In French, compared to English, crawling was enhanced, with significantly more arm and leg steps and significantly more and larger trunk rotations in the cephalo-caudal axis. Moreover, newborns rotated their heads and trunk toward the appropriate loud speaker when hearing French but not English. These preliminary findings suggest that newborn crawling is not a simple stereotyped reflex under spinal control, but a complex pattern that can be modulated in response to higher-order, supra-spinally processed stimuli. The findings open fascinating questions about the range of stimuli to which newborn crawling is responsive.

Newborns modulate their crawling in response to their native language but not another language

Gervain J.;
2022

Abstract

Human newborns can propel themselves to their mother's breast when positioned skin to skin on her abdomen just after birth. For decades, researchers have considered this primitive crawling behavior a spinal reflex, immune to supra spinal control. However, recent research suggests that neonatal crawling is already responsive to visual and olfactory stimuli processed at a supra spinal level. Here we report that a few hours post birth, French newborns can also modulate their crawling in response to their native language – a source of information that is processed supra-spinally. The crawling patterns of 23 French-born newborns were recorded on video and via an infrared motion capture system during two randomly ordered 2-min trials. The newborns were secured on a mini skateboard to facilitate arm and leg movements during their crawling propulsion. They heard a repetitive sequence of the same sentences either in French, their native language, or in English, a rhythmically different and hence discriminable unfamiliar language, on each trial. In French, compared to English, crawling was enhanced, with significantly more arm and leg steps and significantly more and larger trunk rotations in the cephalo-caudal axis. Moreover, newborns rotated their heads and trunk toward the appropriate loud speaker when hearing French but not English. These preliminary findings suggest that newborn crawling is not a simple stereotyped reflex under spinal control, but a complex pattern that can be modulated in response to higher-order, supra-spinally processed stimuli. The findings open fascinating questions about the range of stimuli to which newborn crawling is responsive.
2022
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3443687
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