We all know that children are extremely influential and that the youngest they are the more easily to influence they are. But we have no idea exactly how easy to influence these future adults actually are despite whatever we might think we know. It’s all a lot more complicated than previously believed.
Why is that, you ask? For the most part, it’s because babies are apparently influential enough to have their entire development affected by music by the time they are nine months old. At least that’s what a study from the University of Washington in Seattle says, as researchers discovered that babies may get a learning boost from music.
But what does that even mean – a learning boost? And what type of music did the researchers refer to? Let’s dig into the study and find out more about the relationship between infantile cognitive skills and listening to music.
For the experiment, the scientists picked a sample of 39 babies. All of them were nine months old, and the first stage of the study lasted for a month, while the second for a single session with each baby. For better accuracy, the babies were divided into two groups – the control group and the subjects.
While the members of the control group had daily 15-minute-long sessions over the course of a month during which they played with different toys, the actual study participants listened to recordings of children’s music while the experimenter led the parents and babies by tapping to the beats in time with the music.
Interestingly, the team decided that the music should be in triple meter, like in waltz. This was chosen because waltzes are generally more difficult for babies to learn, but still easier than other options that were suggested, like classical music, particularly Mozart.
A week after the play/music sessions were finished, the second part of the experiment began. The babies came in for a series of brain scans, but got a lot more to do than just that. While in the scanner, the infants listened to an array of music and speech sounds, all played out in an occasionally disrupted rhythm.
The idea was to see if the babies’ brains would show any sort of response when or if they identified the disruption in the sounds. As it turns out, the brains of the babies in the music group were far better able to identify the disruptions and to respond to them than the playing group.
While not all that much could be inferred from the study other than the fact that babies may get a learning boost from music, scientists are pretty confident to recommend that children should be taken to music classes as soon as possible. Further studies have to be performed if the team wants to find out anything more on the subject.
Image source: Pixabay