Posted in biology, communication and networking, music

Babies born to boogie

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Crank up the fiddle and eat another bite of colcannon. Speaking of music, if you think your little tot might be rocking out to the bagpipes, you’re right! According to a recent study, humans are born ready to boogie! Or at least within a few months of birth.

The research showed babies respond to the rhythm and tempo of music, and find it more engaging than speech.

The findings, based on a study of 120 infants between 5 months and 2 years old, suggest that humans may be born with a predisposition to move rhythmically in response to music. 

“Our research suggests that it is the beat rather than other features of the music, such as the melody, that produces the response in infants,” said researcher Marcel Zentner, a psychologist at the University of York in England. “We also found that the better the children were able to synchronize their movements with the music, the more they smiled.”

To test babies’ dancing disposition, the researchers played recordings of classical music, rhythmic beats and speech to infants, and videotaped the results. They also recruited professional ballet dancers to analyze how well the babies matched their movements to the music.

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Author:

Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.