Recent studies revealed that music helps babies develop better language skills and makes them smarter. Even though music had already been associated with positive thinking, the findings prove its benefits in newborns.
Interestingly enough, the study was tested with 39 nine-month-old infants who were assigned to music (intervention) or play (control) activities for 12 sessions. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers found that playing music during several music sessions improved 9-month-old babies’ brain processing of not only music but also new speech sounds.
Music sessions vs. Toys sessions
The babies were analyzed with a brain scan called magnetoencephalography (MEG) hat allowed researchers to find regions of the brain that play an important rol in cognitive skills. The brain scanner targeted the earliest skills of humans such as controlling attention and detection of patterns. The result showed that stronger brain responds to music and speech rhythm in the babies of the music group.
The babies in the music sessions recognized the mistakes more consistently than the babies in the other group without music, reported the researcher team in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Music helps babies respond better to speech, according to research https://t.co/tFW03wXa2G
— Belfast Telegraph (@BelTel) April 25, 2016
The leader of this study Christina Zao, a postdoctoral researcher at I-LABS, told CBS News “Our study is the first to demonstrate that a type of enriched experience with sound other than language can influence infants’ speech sound processing,”.
“Infants experience a complex world in which sounds, lights and sensations vary constantly,” study co-author Patricia Kuhl, co-director of I-LABS, said in a statement. “The baby’s job is to recognize the patterns of activity and predict what’s going to happen next. Pattern perception is an important cognitive skill, and improving that ability early may have long-lasting effects on learning.”
The experts found that language has rhythmic patterns like music and the ability to differentiate each speech sound would help babies to talk faster. In this studio, all of the songs played were deliberately displayed to be difficult for babies to learn. The other 19 babies attended play sessions with toys and no music.
Head of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, Patricia Kuhl, is strongly convinced that music helps children learn.
“Schools across our nation are decreasing music experiences for our children, saying they are too expensive,” she said. “Music experience has the potential to boost broader cognitive skills that enhance children’s abilities to detect, expect and react quickly to patterns in the world, which is highly relevant in today’s complex world.”
Source: NBC News