More Proof That Playing Music To Your Baby Is A Good Thing
Using brain scans, Finnish researchers discovered that infants who listened to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in utero recognized the melody up to four months after birth. It's the first study to measure how long fetal memories last.
University of Helsinki researchers separated women who were in their third trimester of pregnancy into two groups. One group served as a control while the other group listened to the melody from “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” for five days a week. When the babies were born, the researchers played the music and, through brain scans, discovered that they recognized the melody immediately. A second examination done four months later showed that they still recognized the song. Playing slightly altered or revised versions of the melody did not produce the same effect.
Subscribe for counterintuitive, surprising, and impactful stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday
What’s the Big Idea?
Mothers have been playing music to their unborn babies for many years, but this is the first study to examine whether they remember the music after leaving the mother’s body and for how long. The findings could prove important for early brain rehabilitation, says researcher Eino Partanen: “Even though our earlier research indicated that fetuses could learn minor details of speech, we did not know how long they could retain the information. These results show that babies are capable of learning at a very young age, and that the effects of the learning remain apparent in the brain for a long time.” Details of the study were published online in PLOS ONE.