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Babies Can Recall Music They Heard in the Womb

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

Read more: Babies, Children, News & Issues, Pregnancy, , , , , , , , ,

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Lo Lankford

Lo Lankford is a recent Los Angeles transplant after a decade in the Big Apple. In her "spare time" (ha!) she used to run a dog rescue called Badass Brooklyn and helped save over 400 dogs. Otherwise? Nerd'do well, whistle blower, proud hillbilly from the sticks.


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2:39PM PST on Jan 22, 2014

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

2:41AM PST on Nov 13, 2013

Thank you :)

1:21AM PST on Nov 12, 2013

I believe it--thanks

12:07AM PST on Nov 12, 2013

I wonder if it works for puppies?

12:04AM PST on Nov 12, 2013

I wonder if it works on puppies?

4:35PM PST on Nov 10, 2013

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

1:42PM PST on Nov 9, 2013

I thought that this was a given. Thanks.

5:51AM PST on Nov 9, 2013

nice to learn

4:59AM PST on Nov 9, 2013

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

4:49AM PST on Nov 9, 2013

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

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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