(ORDO NEWS) — It turned out that postpartum depression of mothers adversely affects how successfully their children learn to talk.
This is probably due to the fact that women who are in a bad mood speak in a monotone and do not focus their speech on small children. This prevents babies from effectively distinguishing sounds and syllables.
About 70 percent of women experience postpartum depression of varying severity. Studies have shown that the deterioration of the mother’s mood can affect the development of her child.
Now scientists from the Institute for Cognitive and Neurosciences of the Max Planck Society (Germany) have found out how postpartum depression affects the early development of speech in infants.
Scientists analyzed how well babies learn to distinguish speech sounds depending on the mood of the mother. This ability is considered an important prerequisite for further steps towards language acquisition. If a child is able to distinguish sound, then he will be able to distinguish between syllables and words.
The study involved 46 mothers whose mood was assessed using a standardized questionnaire. To find out how well children distinguish speech sounds, scientists used the method of electroencephalography (EEG).
The scientists evaluated the so-called disparity reaction, which makes it possible to determine from the EEG signal whether the brain perceives sounds as the same or distinguishes them.
Then the authors of the work recorded this reaction in infants at the age of two and six months, when they were presented with various syllables, such as “ba”, “ga” and “boo” and others.
The results of the study showed that if a mother is depressed two months after birth, her children show less mature processing of speech sounds at six months of age.
They also showed a delay in the development of the mismatch reaction, which is considered a sign of an increased risk of speech disorder later in life.
Scientists also believe that depressed mothers are less likely to talk to their children. Their speech is probably more monotonous and less infant-oriented.
That is, women in this state use fewer sound variations and less clearly distinguish certain parts of words. This may limit their children’s perception of sounds.
The findings of the authors of the work demonstrate, among other things, how important it is for parents to use infant-oriented speech.
According to the researchers, in order to ensure the correct speech development of children, it is necessary to provide appropriate support to their mothers suffering from postpartum depression, and to promote the involvement of fathers in the upbringing process.
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