Babies tune in to music from the womb

BABIES can remember melodies they heard in the womb, according to a study.

Scientists played music to their mothers three weeks before birth and tested them one month after they were born.

The babies’ heart rates slowed at a greater rate when they heard the melody they had heard in the womb, compared to one they had not heard before.

The findings add to scientists’ understanding of the effects of what sounds are heard in the womb, including how babies learn to perceive speech.

Psychobiologist Carolyn Granier-Deferre, of Paris Descartes University, asked 50 heavily pregnant women to listen to a descending piano melody twice daily.

When the 50 babies were one month old, both the descending melody and an ascending nine-note piano melody were played to the infants while they slept.

On average, the heart rates of the sleeping babies briefly slowed by 12 beats a minute with the familiar descending melody, compared to five or six beats with the unfamiliar melody.

The results suggest that newborns pay more attention to what may be their mother’s melodic sounds than they will to those of other women’, said Miss Granier-Deferre in the online journal, PLoS ONE.

Daily Mail | March 12, 2011


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