11 April 2010

Prenatal education

Scientists have watched fetuses on ultrasound turn their heads away from bright lights held up to their mother's stomach, Fifer said. And they've seen the brain waves of premature infants spike in response to a flash of light, or a change in visual stimulus—switching a card from vertical stripes to horizontal, for instance. Sight isn't much of a sense at this point, but it's enough...

Turns out, [newborn] babies suck harder on the pacifiers when they hear sounds that are familiar to them from before birth. Newborns prefer their mother's voice over anyone else's (even dad's). They prefer hearing phrases from books they were read while in the womb, compared to new stories. They're even already favoring one language over another...

Mothers' speech seem to matter in other ways as well. Moms who don't mumble or slur their words together have children that can better recognize consonants at 6-to-8 months, and have bigger vocabularies at 10-to-12 months, compared to their peers. This, and other research, has led Moon to theorize that language acquisition is a process that begins before we're even born.


  1. Wow.

    Life continues to amaze me.

  2. I can so believe this.
    My elder daughter, in utero, was exposed to lots of choral music with organ (I was in a cathedral choir at the time), whilst the younger one wasn't.
    The elder has an amazing sense of timing, and the younger one struggles. Both do ballet and competitive rhythmic gymnastics, where being in time to the music is crucial.


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