April 11, 2013

SCIENCE: While in womb, babies begin learning language from their mothers. “Babies only hours old are able to differentiate between sounds from their native language and a foreign language, scientists have discovered. The study indicates that babies begin absorbing language while still in the womb, earlier than previously thought. Sensory and brain mechanisms for hearing are developed at 30 weeks of gestational age, and the new study shows that unborn babies are listening to their mothers talk during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy and at birth can demonstrate what they’ve heard.” Of course, this may be one of those unreliable small-sample neuroscience studies we’ve been hearing about: “Forty infants, about 30 hours old and an even mix of girls and boys, were studied in Tacoma and Stockholm, Sweden.”