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Theses

La perception sensorielle des bébés nés à terme et prématurés

Abstract : Sensory perception is specific to each individual. It results from the gene pool (which defines the sensory receptors), but varies depending on maturation and experience. In this sense, the study of babies has enabled us to test both 1) the effect of maturation by comparing the babies’ sensory perception to those of adults and 2) the effect of early stage sensory perception by comparing the sensory perception of preterm and full-term infants at a same post-conception age (i.e. term-aged infants). Our results underlined a larger sensory perception in babies than in adults, through the perception of very subtle tactile stimulations, or else the perception of ultrasounds, that cannot be perceived by grown-ups. The mechanisms of the maturation of sensory organs and of ‘’sensory recentering‘’ towards relevant simulations that can happen in the course of time have been presented. We have also shown a particularly strong reactivity of preterm babies in comparison to full-term babies. Various potential subjacent mechanisms such as a neuronal selectivity adaptation to environmental stimulations, a maintained/ delayed cerebral plasticity or else the development of a hypersensitivity have been discussed. In addition to the core of this thesis, we have taken an interest in the baby’s social “Umwelt” and have studied 1) his abilities in perception and discrimination between human body odours and 2) his ability to express his sensory perception. We have shown that babies are very responsive to their social world, capable of discrimination between different social partners’ odours. Furthermore, babies also are highly expressive when it comes to their sensory perception, especially through the use of a complex vocal repertoire (beyond cries/tears). Indeed, some types of these vocalisations could reflect his state of comfort or discomfort. The results of this thesis open numerous grounds for thought in terms of neonatal care adaptations.
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Vanessa André. La perception sensorielle des bébés nés à terme et prématurés. Sciences cognitives. Université Rennes 1, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017REN1B052⟩. ⟨tel-02421293⟩

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