Magnetoencephalographic signatures of numerosity discrimination in fetuses and neonates

Franziska Schleger*, Karin Landerl, Jana Muenssinger, Rossitza Draganova, Maren Reinl, Isabelle Kiefer-Schmidt, Magdalene Weiss, Annette Wacker-Gußmann, Minna Huotilainen, Hubert Preissl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Numerosity discrimination has been demonstrated in newborns, but not in fetuses. Fetal magnetoencephalography allows non-invasive investigation of neural responses in neonates and fetuses. During an oddball paradigm with auditory sequences differing in numerosity, evoked responses were recorded and mismatch responses were quantified as an indicator for auditory discrimination. Thirty pregnant women with healthy fetuses (last trimester) and 30 healthy term neonates participated. Fourteen adults were included as a control group. Based on measurements eligible for analysis, all adults, all neonates, and 74% of fetuses showed numerical mismatch responses. Numerosity discrimination appears to exist in the last trimester of pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-329
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Neuropsychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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