The Effects of Delay on Neonatal Retention of Habituated Headturning

Document Type



Psychology (Pitzer)

Publication Date



Neonate, Retention, Memory, Habituation, Delay, Recovery


Recovery of neonatal head orientation following auditory habituation was used to examine the effects of intertrial delay. One of two words served as stimuli with criterion orienting and habituation established before the delay. Fifty-six full-term neonates were assigned randomly to one of four delay groups: 10 (control), 55, 100, or 145 s. The percentage of head-turns toward the sound source (with one turn per trial) for blocks of three trials served as the principal dependent variable. Recovery of localized head-turning increased as length of delay increased, with the 100- and 145-s groups showing greater recovery than the 10- and 55-s groups. Infants presented with control trials systematically turned away from the sound source following habituation. Selective sensory adaptation, spontaneous recovery, and short-term memory interpretations of these data are considered.

Rights Information

© 1987 Elsevier