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Infants distinguish sad music

Babies as young as five months old are capable of distinguishing differences in the sound of classical music, new research has shown.
Babies as young as five months old are capable of distinguishing differences in the sound of classical music, new research has shown.

According to research by psychologists at Brigham Young University, infants are capable of distinguishing both upbeat and sorrowful tunes.

Researchers showed babies pictures of emotionally-neutral, happy and sad faces when playing the different types of classical music and recorded how long the babies looked at each picture.

Infants aged as young as five months were capable of distinguishing happier songs, such as Beethoven's Ode to Joy, while by the age of nine months babies were also capable of picking out sorrowful tunes.

Brigham psychology professor and study author, Ross Flom, said: "One of the first things babies understand communicatively is emotion, so for them the melody is the message.

"Our study showed that by nine months, babies are categorising songs as happy or sad the same way that preschoolers and adults do."

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