Babies Born To Rock

02.03.09 Study says newborns get the sense for beat at birth


Who says you don't have rhythm? A new study says newborns can follow musical patterns, suggesting that rocking out is innate, ">USA Today reports.

The findings, published in the journal ">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, add to growing signs that the newborn brain is not a blank slate as previously believed—instead suggesting that musical sense is hard-wired into the human brain to help with communication.

Scientists found that infants as young as 2 days old can process pitch and tell if a series of notes are rising or falling scale. The researchers ">monitored the brains of 14 infants listening to different rock rhythms. When the musical pattern changed, particularly when omitting the downbeat, the infant brain responded with an error signal, which means the expectation for a tune was not met.

"A baby's auditory system is working the same way as an adult's, in that it is always making predictions," said lead researcher Istvan Winkler of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The study noted that while spoken language can take more than one year to develop, music is one of the earliest things parents can have and do with their children.

Adding music to exercise and games can be fun and beneficial activities for moms and babies. For playtime with your little one, experts say you can help a baby's brain development by integrating rhythm and movement between the ages of 4 months to 5 months.

Plus, dancing with baby is a fun way for new moms to stay active, burn calories and feel more comfortable with their bodies. Bonus: It helps build the mom-and-baby bond!

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.