June 1, 2016

The Mother's Voice: Science Catches up to Tomatis

No, I'm not mad. I really did experience what I wrote about in my "seventh heaven" post in 2012, where I recounted a mystical experience listening to a woman's voice—the voice in question mirroring what is heard in the womb. Now it seems there is scientific evidence that proves what Tomatis posited, which is that the mother's voice in the womb has a profound influence on the child and its later development. 

In a study titled "Neural circuits underlying mother's voice perception predict social communication abilities in children," a functional MRI was used to determine what effect the mother's voice had on subjects, the result being that it was found that brain circuits are "selectively engaged in children by their mother's voice and show that this brain activity predicts social communication abilities." 

It must be remembered that there was a time when science scoffed at Tomatis' assertion that the child could hear its mother's voice in the womb, which was subsequently proven to be true. This new research goes further in revealing that the mother's voice has a deep and lasting influence which affects communication.

What does this study have to do with singing? Singing is all about communication, with great singing being all about highly nuanced communication. If there are problems with the development of the child, then problems may result. How might this arise? One such example is the premature baby whose skull is deprived of contact with its mother's pelvis during last few weeks of pregnancy. Tomatis believed this contact, which takes place when the fetus turns over in preparation for birth, has everything to do with the final encoding of the child's brain for later communication; both as self-listening/realization and the child's relationship to the outer world.

See The Ear and the Voice for more information.

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