Babies Love to Dance!
Now here is a study I love! Scientists studied babies movements to music and discovered – babies love rhythm, and love to move to the rhythm! Get those babies dancing!
If they find rhythm and music more engaging, sing to them!
They Got Rhythm, Study of Babies Finds
(March 16) — Babies innately respond to rhythm more than speech, according to a new study that found dancing comes naturally to infants.
Researchers in Britain and Finland tested the responses of 120 babies ages 5 months to 2 years and found that infants are much more physically responsive to music than to speech and find it more engaging.
In the experiment, which was recorded on video, babies were perched on their mother’s or father’s lap while psychologists played a recording of music. The babies moved their heads, arms, legs and bodies in time to the beat of various different genres of 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,” one of the study’s authors, psychologist Marcel Zentner of the University of York in England, said in statement.
In order not to influence the baby’s movements, the parent wore headphones to block out the sound of the music and was asked to stay still during the experiment.
The recordings included classical music, rhythmic beats and also speech. They also hired professional ballet dancers to analyze the babies’ movements and determine how well-coordinated they were with the music. All of the babies responded more to the music than to speech.
The findings suggest humans may be born with a predisposition to move rhythmically in response to music.
“It remains to be understood why humans have developed this particular predisposition,” Zentner said. “One possibility is that it was a target of natural selection for music or that it has evolved for some other function that just happens to be relevant for music processing.”
Zentner and Tuomas Eerola of Finland’s University of Jyvasklya also found that the more the babies’ movements were synchronized to the music, the more they smiled.
The study appears in the March 15 issue of the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.