Keep It Down! The Human Voice & Autism

(Photo by: Leonid Mamchenkov/Flickr)

A research group comprised of scientists from England and Germany recently accomplished an interesting study involving the connection between the human voice and the infant.

They believe that further research could reveal a method in which they could identify children with autism.

These scientists analyzed the inner workings of the temporal lobe of the brain.  They soon discovered that by the age of 7 months, an infant’s brain can not only process the human voice in a way that is like an adults; they can pick up on the emotional tone of the voice and evaluate it.

The ability to thoroughly understand the implications of the voice’s tone can inform a child about his surroundings.  By hearing and understanding the emotions present, the child can grasp the environment around them and behave accordingly.  A child with autism on the other hand, has difficulty analyzing the environment around him.

The scientists believe that by looking at the activity of the temporal lobe, they will be able to monitor how a child reacts and see if their vocal-processing is normal.  This is important, because the earlier that signs of autism can be caught, then the quicker it can be diagnosed and treated.

The research group was able to come to this conclusion after noticing peculiar responses within the right temporal cortex while they were completing their tests.  The area within the right temporal cortex that is associated with emotional identification revealed high levels of activity whenever the infants were addressed in an emotional way.

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