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The Pediatric Forum
February 1999

Studying Inner-City Achievers

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1999;153(2):205. doi:

Hurt et al1 report that improving the home environment and improving caregiver (foster or biological) interactive skills seem to be the most substantial changes that would effect improved IQ scores. This may be facilitated by participatory matching of vocal hesitation pauses in spontaneous dialogue, a joint, mutually responsive rhythm that has prelinguistic origins. Neurobiological features are suggested by the correlation of the rate and variability in the duration of pauses (4.79 ± 2.48 per minute, 1.50 ± 0.33 seconds) (mean ± SD) with the left and right hemisphere, respectively, and the association of the reduction of blood pressure with longer, less recurrent pauses on the order of 2 seconds2 that correlate with the feeling of rhythmicity.3 This hypothesis is supported by short-term laboratory experience demonstrating that adult female speech production is sufficient to influence infant's speech production occurring in the silent intervals between the adult's vocalizations (average, 3.37 seconds)2 and a report that the microvascular response to the onset of neural activity is consistently delayed by several seconds.4 Even brief (1-5 second) spontaneous pauses in ongoing patterned behaviors are accompanied by an immediate reduction of serotonin neuronal activity to or below baseline levels, coordinating autonomic, motor, and sensory functions,5 and serotonergic modulation of dopamine optimizes response organization and working memory2 and may link emotional memories in ventromedial frontal cortices with decision-making anticipated by skin conductance response.6 Serotonergic modulation of dopamine also regulates the microvasculature,7 which may alter the neuronal microenvironment.8

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