Sleeping babies can hear you’re upset
Parents, beware waiting until your baby nods off before arguing over the housework – the sleeping infant will still be listening in.
Declan Murphy and his colleagues at King’s College London used a functional MRI scanner to watch how babies’ brains responded to sounds while they slept. The group used a modified scanner quiet enough to scan 21 infants aged between 3 and 7 months without waking them.
Murphy’s team first compared the babies’ responses to human non-verbal vocalisations – such as coughs and sneezes – and other sounds that the tots would be familiar with, like the sounds produced by a musical toy. They found that different regions of the babies’ brains responded more strongly to the different stimuli in the same way that an adults’ awake brain does.
The group then played the sleeping infants sad, neutral and happy human vocalisations, which included the sounds of crying and laughter. In all cases the scans revealed significant activity in several brain regions including the middle temporal gyri, right lingual gyrus and medial frontal gyri – such patterns of activity are seen when adults who are awake listen to such sounds.
1 year ago
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