Babies Ready to Rock at Birth

Infants can perceive rhythmic regularity
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 27, 2009 8:33 AM CST
Babies' brains can pick up rhythm, a study suggests.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – Babies are born ready to get in the groove, a new study suggests. Researchers played repetitive rock beats for infants, and when “metrically-unimportant” aspects of the music were absent, the babies’ auditory activity didn’t change much. But if there was a shift in the rhythm—for instance, if a key beat was left out—the babies’ brains gave off an “error signal,” LiveScience reports.

“A baby's auditory system is working the same way as an adult's, in that it is always making predictions. If the prediction is incorrect, an error signal helps gauge how much you are off the actual target,” said a researcher. Two-day-olds can also process pitch. The study syncs with the parental instinct to communicate with babies in sing-song, using melody and rhythm.