Updated in 5/6/2012 9:23:08 PM      Viewed: 410 times      (Journal Article)
The Quarterly journal of experimental psychology. B, Comparative and physiological psychology 44 (3-4): 305-17 (1992)

Habituation in normal and Down's syndrome fetuses.

P G Hepper , S Shahidullah
ABSTRACT
The ability of ten normal and two Down's syndrome fetuses to habituate to a repeated auditory stimulus was assessed. The normal fetuses were assessed on two separate occasions during the final trimester of pregnancy. The number of trials to habituate and latency to respond were recorded. The results demonstrated that all normal fetuses exhibited a decrement in response to repeated presentations of the stimulus, a 250-Hz sine wave. This was the result of habituation and not fatigue since fetuses recovered responding upon presentation of a new (500 Hz) stimulus and habituated faster on re-presentation of the original stimulus. The performance of fetuses remained stable over the two testing periods. The response of the Down's syndrome fetuses was different to that of normal fetuses rarely overlapping indices of habituation exhibited by normal fetuses. The study concludes that habituation may be a powerful tool to examine the behavioural and sensory development of the fetus and may be of use in the antenatal assessment of the existence and severity of neural abnormality.
DOI: 10.1080/02724999208250617      ISSN: 0272-4995