Infants understand Beethoven!

The section on hearing where we learned that infants can understand the emotion behind language reminded me of a study BYU did recently on how infants younger than six months can distinguish the difference between a happy, upbeat song and a sad, slow melody.

“The musical experiments offer another example of how babies make sense of the world long before they can talk, says BYU psychology professor and study author Ross Flom.”

They based their study on the fact that one of the first things babies understand in the world is emotion.  They had to look at their eyes to see what the baby was feeling.  They also recorded the attention span of the different melodies with various moods. The pictures say it all.

Scott Montgomery


~ by Scott Montgomery on September 20, 2009.

2 Responses to “Infants understand Beethoven!”

  1. What are the babies listening to in the pictures? I’m still kind of confused as to how the study worked what it did and what the results were. . .


  2. I had no clue that babies learned to understand emotion so early. I do remember one study where a baby reacted (crawled over what seemed to be a drop or not) by the expression on their mother’s face, i.e. the mother may look happy and wanted the child to come over so the baby usually did crawl over the “drop” or the mother looked scared and concerned so the child tended to stay put.

    Tracy Hubertz

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