Yesterday I had a university student shadowing me in the emergency department. AF is a bright student, a hard worker who will make a wonderful physician. She is always curious and insightful when I ask her questions, or show her new things. Today, she saw something that was new for her, but perhaps too common for me.
I walked into the room of an infirm, frail old gentleman who was gracious and polite, as was his family. It turns out he came to us with a terminal illness. I did not know it, but his physician was meeting him. So, as AF and I walked into the room, the patient’s physician walked in after us, and continued a conversation about hospice that he had apparently begun earlier in the day.
Realizing I had nothing to add, and would not be needed, I slipped away with my shadow behind. She looked at me, tears welling, and excused herself. Later she returned and explained that when she saw the wife’s wedding band, and knew what hospice meant, she could not restrain her tears. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at edwinleap.com*
French and German scientists decided to analyze the crying of newborns from the two countries for differences in intonation. Turns out that German babies have a different “accent” to their cry compared with those from France, which implies that language learning perhaps begins even in the womb.
The analysis of crying conducted under the supervision of the psychologist Kathleen Wermke from the ZWES showed that the newborns tended to produce the intonation pattern most typical for their respective mother tongue. The crying patterns of the German infants mostly began loud and high and followed a falling curve while the French infants more often cried with a rising tone. This early sensitivity to features of intonation may later help the infants learn their mother tongue, the researchers say. “When they begin to form their first sounds, they can build on melodic patterns that are already familiar and, in this way, don’t have to start from scratch”, says the neuropsychologist. The evolutionary roots of this behaviour are older than the emergence of spoken language, the researchers believe. “The imitation of melodic patterns developed over millions of years and contributes to the mother-child bond” says Friederici.
Press release: Babies with an accent …
Abstract in Current Biology: Newborns’ Cry Melody Is Shaped by Their Native Language…
*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*