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Babies Learn Music While Sleeping
Date:2/23/2009

Early screening and treatment for infants with hearing problems, and the ability to computer-generate musical scores, are two very different possible outcomes of some "off-the-wall" research.

Brussels, Belgium (PRWEB) February 23, 2009 -- Babies learn music while sleeping.

Early screening and treatment for infants with hearing problems, and the ability to computer-generate musical scores, are two very different possible outcomes of some "off-the-wall" research.

Until recently, little has been known about the perceptions humans have when they enter the world.

Although adult perception has been extensively researched, how, or even if, the brains of newborn babies perceive patterns in the world remained a mystery.

That mystery has been at least partially solved by an EU-funded research project, EmCAP, which brought together what many would consider an unlikely consortium, comprising both neuroscientists and music technologists.

What project coordinator Susan Denham describes as "blue-sky thinking" on the part of her and her colleagues when they initially proposed the project led to experiments involving playing music to newborn babies.

Scanning sleeping babies
In the experiments, sleeping babies were hooked up to an encephalograph (EEG), an instrument able to measure brain activity using electrodes placed on the scalp.

The babies were then played music - to be more exact, simplified tone sequences - to test what sort of patterns they were sensitive to and whether they would predict what was coming next based on what had gone before.
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