Babies Can Recall Music They Heard in the Womb

Played The Beach Boys all through your pregnancy? Try turning it on for your newborn when he’s feeling fussy.

It’s long been thought that playing music for your unborn baby is a great way for mothers to bond with their children. But now, a new study takes that idea one step further by suggesting that babies – while in their mothers womb – can hear a song, learn the melody and then recognize it after they’re born.

For the study, published online last week by PLOS One, Finnish researchers worked with two groups of 12 pregnant women. Five times a week, one of the groups (“learning group”) played a CD that included a one-minute rendition of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” Those unborn children heard the song an average of 170 times before their birth. The other group (“control group”) never heard the recording.

Later, right after the children were born, the scientists did EEG tests as the babies listened to both the original “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” they heard in the womb and then a slightly altered version of the song. They did the test again at 4 months of age.

As one might expect, the learning group had a larger response to the melody than the control group did, and the difference was still apparent at 4 months. It was also proven that the more often the child heard the original tune, the more likely they were to still recognize it in its altered form.

While not exactly groundbreaking, the study is a sweet finding and perhaps a helpful tool in helping to soothe your baby and connect with them both before and after birth. But Eino Partanen, the lead on the study and a researcher at the University of Helsinki, urged parents not to make too much of the findings. “A baby can be relaxed and soothed by melodies it hears before birth,” he said. “But there is no evidence that it will get your baby into Harvard.”

Don’t worry, we know your baby is a genius!

Source: New York Times

100 comments

Lacy B.
Lacy W.2 years ago

Awesome! My husband and I got a baby cd to play during pregnancy. :]

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen2 years ago

Thank you :)

Natasha Salgado
natasha salgado2 years ago

I believe it--thanks

Joy T.
Joy T.2 years ago

I wonder if it works for puppies?

Joy T.
Joy T.2 years ago

I wonder if it works on puppies?

Connie O.
ConnieAway O.2 years ago

I always played music and sang to my tummy when I was pregnant!

Sue H.
Sue H.2 years ago

I thought that this was a given. Thanks.

Lydia Petaloudi
Lydia Petaloudi2 years ago

nice to learn

Erin S.
Past Member 2 years ago

That explains why as a baby I hated lullabies but Queen's songs could calm me down :)

Jean Duggan
Jean Duggan2 years ago

Music that the child is familiar with, from when s/he was in utero, seems to calm the baby when heard again post partum.