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Music exposure before birth stimulates sound pattern recognition in newborns. Playing music for babies while they are still in the womb may enhance their brain development.
In this study women in their third trimester of pregnancy were asked to play Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star at least five times a week. Another group of women did not play any music in the same pregnancy period. After the birth, the scientists measured the infants’ brain activity when they listened to the same song as well as a similar tune with some different notes in it, to determine if any learning had taken place. They repeated the study when the children were four-months-old. The researchers found that infants who had heard the song in the womb had much stronger brain activity when they heard the original song compared with the modified version at both birth and at four months. This research suggests that babies are developing important brain connections related to sound recognition even before birth.
You will find hundreds of beautiful nursery rhymes to sing to your developing baby in our online Active Babies Smart Kids series here.
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Dr Jane Williams (PhD, BMgt, RN(Paeds)) is the Research and Education General Manager for GymbaROO and KindyROO. Dr Williams is one of Australia’s leading experts on baby and child development. More on Dr Williams here.
Resource: Partanen, E., Kujala, T., Tervaniemi, M., Huotilainen, M. (2013). Prenatal music exposure induces long term neural effects, PLOS One, 8(10) e78946.
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