Babies learning words in the womb

This news article reports a study which adds to research that babies learn sound patterns/words in the womb. The study used EEG sensors and found that babies who repeatedly heard a made up sound in the womb were more likely than the control group to recognise/respond to the sound after birth. However there were no tests to see if the memory of the word is retained past a month old. I haven’t read the original report on the study however on average the word was played more than 25,000 during the last few months of pregnancy and I do wonder if a common content word would be said this often in normal speech? It seems a lot! Also the made up word was ‘tatata’ (with the middle syllable varied). The constant vowel repetition is a common pattern in early speech (‘dada’, ‘mama’, ‘baba’ etc.) so I also wonder if a word without this pattern would have triggered the same results? Although it might not matter for recognising words.

 

 

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