Babies can 'hear' emotion as early as three months old
Published: 1st Jul 2011 01:15:29
Babies can respond to emotions in a human voice at just three months old - earlier than previously thought - researchers believe.
The results of scans on 21 sleeping babies suggested the brain responded to the type of sounds being played.
Researchers said it had previously been unclear when human brains developed the ability to process voices and emotions.
Scientists hope to learn the difference between the way autistic and non-autisitc brains develop as a result.
They used functional magnetic-resonance imaging (fMRI) to record how babies responded to tapes playing "emotional sounds", such as laughing and crying, as well as background noises, like water or toys.
A part of the brain - the temporal cortex - was activated when human voices were played - the same region as in adults.
The limbic brain region responded strongly to negative or sad sounds, but did not differentiate between neutral and happy sounds.
Professor Declan Murphy, from King's College London, said: "This discovery fundamentally advances our understanding of infant development."
Dr Evelyne Mercure, of University College London, said: "It is a rare demonstration that specialised areas exist in the brain very early in development."
The researchers hope the study will allow them to compare what happens in autistic and non-autistic brains.
Professor Murphy told the BBC: "By identifying when brain systems come on stream, we can understand where it goes wrong."
The researchers are also scanning the brains of babies thought to be at risk of developing autism, such as those who have a sibling with the condition.
They are investigating when differences can be detected.
At 11:00:52 in HeadlinesIceland raises warning level to aviation after fresh eruption from fissure near the Bardarbunga volcano
At 10:58:58 in ScotlandA man has been killed when the car he was driving crashed on the A9 near Dalwhinnie.
At 10:58:45 in EnglandA man has been charged with murdering a woman whose body is believed to have lain undiscovered for a month at a house in Greater Manchester.
At 10:55:09 in WalesA south Wales man who was critically injured after being hit by a car near Stonehenge on Friday night has died, say Wiltshire Police.
At 10:49:50 in SportDay one report to follow.
At 10:49:04 in SportDay one report to follow at close of play.
At 10:47:40 in SportDay one report to follow.
At 10:46:56 in SportDay one report to follow.
At 10:45:43 in SportDay one report to follow.
At 10:44:58 in SportDay one report to follow.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2011. Babies can 'hear' emotion as early as three months old [Online] (Updated 1st Jul 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/166621/Babies-can-hear-emotion-as-early-as-three-months-old [Accessed 31st Aug 2014]
News In Other Categories
Two men have been shot in a pub in Dublin city centre.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
British bassist Glenn Cornick, a founding member of British rock band Jethro Tull, has died aged 67.
Health leaders are calling for an emergency taskforce to be set up to tackle childhood obesity in England.
Members of the troubled Co-operative Group are due to meet for a final vote on reforming how the business is run.
Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger will be switched off in China in October, marking a final end to the 15-year-old service.