Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Communication and Developmental Milestones

  • Zoe M. Flack
  • David A. Leavens
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3634-1



Watershed skills that human children develop early in life.


Even before birth, children are making sense of the sounds they hear. The human ear is functional in the final trimester, and fetuses respond to a range of auditory stimuli from outside the womb. Evidence suggests that infants are in fact highly sensitive to the sounds they hear from within the womb and newborns can identify sounds from the language to which they have already been exposed while in the womb (May et al. 2011). De Casper and Spence (1986) asked pregnant women to read a short passage of text aloud daily for the last 6 weeks of their pregnancy. At just a few days old, the newborn infants actively sought to hear the speech passage they had heard prenatally, rather than a novel passage. A control group of infants who had not been regularly read to during pregnancy showed no preference for either passage. Taken together, these findings suggest that language...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of SussexFalmerUK
  2. 2.School of Applied Social ScienceUniversity of BrightonFalmer, BrightonUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Carey Fitzgerald
    • 1
  1. 1.University of South Carolina – BeaufortBlufftonUSA