ERIC Number: EJ940071
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Fetal Habituation Performance: Gestational Age and Sex Effects
McCorry, Noleen K.; Hepper, Peter G.
British Journal of Developmental Psychology, v25 n2 p277-292 Jun 2007
Habituation is the decrement in response to repeated stimulation. Fetal habituation performance may reflect the functioning of the central nervous system (CNS) prenatally. However, basic characteristics of the prenatal habituation phenomena remain unclear, such as the relationship with gestational age (GA) and fetal sex. The current study investigated the relationship between habituation performance and both fetal sex and advancing gestational age, by comparing habituation performance at 31 and 35 weeks GA within a sample of 74 singleton pregnancies, all with normal neonatal outcomes. A vibroacoustic stimulus was used to habituate the fetus and motor responses were monitored via ultrasound. The criterion for habituation was defined as no response to five consecutive stimulus presentations. Prenatal habituation performance was found to demonstrate a developmental trend, with an increased proportion of fetuses habituating with advancing gestational age and requiring fewer stimulus presentations to satisfy the habituation criterion. Fetal sex also appears to have a moderating influence on gestational changes in habituation performance. Hence, the ongoing maturation of the fetal CNS does appear to be reflected in fetal habituation performance, indicating the need to consider the composition of fetal samples in terms of both gestational age and sex. Variability in interfetal performance was found to be high and clinical applications remain speculative.
Descriptors: Anatomy, Habituation, Gender Differences, Stimuli, Prenatal Influences, Age Differences, Correlation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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