The Foetus Will Learn It's Mother's Voice

The Foetus Will Learn It's Mother's Voice

A study from a University in Tacoma, Washington, has found that newborn babies instantly know their mother's voice.

A foetus will develop the mechanisms required for hearing from 30 weeks. The research has found that from then on, the unborn baby will listen to their mother's voice for the next ten weeks.
Past research has shown that newborns have been able to differentiate between the tone of voices, but never has a study found that language learning actually begins in the womb.

Psychology Professor and lead author on the study, Christine Moon, said "This is the first study that shows foetuses learn pre-natally about the particular speech sounds of a mother's language. This study moves the measurable result of experience with speech sounds from six months of age to birth".

Co-author, Professor Patricia Kuhl, from the University of Washington, said "The mother has first dibs on influencing the child's brain. The vowel sounds in her speech are the loudest units and the foetus locks onto them".

Forty infants, aged about 30 hours old, were studied in Tacoma, and Stockholm. While still in the hospital nursery, the babies listened to vowel sounds in foreign languages and in their native tongue.
To measure their interest in the sounds, the babies sucked on a pacifier that was connected to a computer. The length of time suckling on their pacifier for familiar and unfamiliar sounds is evidence, as it means they are indicating how they are associating with the sounds.

In both countries, they found that the majority of babies sucked for longer when being played foreign language.

The researchers concluded by saying that infants are the best learners; they soak up information thanks to their keen want to discover. "We want to know what magic they put to work in early childhood that adults cannot. We can't waste that early curiosity" Kuhl said.

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