According to a new study featured on Science Daily, infants may possess the ability to recognize sounds heard while in the womb even after they are born, which could play a vital role in their development.

Researchers from the University of Helsinki worked with 24 women in their final stages of pregnancy. Half of the women were asked to play “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to their babies for five days a week, while the other half acted as the control group.

After the babies were born, researchers played the same lullaby for them. Those who heard the song while still in the womb strongly reacted to it not only shortly after birth, but up until four months later, proving that infants already have the capacity to retain, or at least, recognize sounds they heard while in the womb.

“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,” says researcher Eino Partanen. “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 very long time.”

(Photo by Kelly Long via Flickr Creative Commons)

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