Babies 'have got rhythm'

Young infants can detect changes in rhythm.
Babies have a strong sense of rhythm from when they are just a day old, according to new research.

A ground-breaking three-year study led by researchers at the University of Plymouth involved the study of more than 100 baby boys and girls in Hungary who were just one or two days old.

The babies were played music while they were sleeping and their brain activity was registered.

It was discovered that the babies noted changes in beat, tone, pitch and melody despite their very young age.

Now the researchers claim that introducing babies to music could help them to talk and could also develop their own musical abilities.

The findings could also help to develop hospital screenings.

Project co-ordinator Dr Susan Denham, of the University of Plymouth, said: "This is one of the first studies of its type and what is perhaps most significant is that, not only do babies' brains register changes in beat, pitch and simple melodic patterns, but they do so more or less automatically, as they are fast asleep during these experiments.

"The results of this study mean that it could be possible to screen children at a much earlier age to identify potential cognitive problems which might lead to poor development."


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