A new study by scientists at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) displays that a sequence of play sittings with music developed 9-month-old babies’ brain processing of both music and new speech sounds.
“Our study is the first in young babies to suggest that experiencing a rhythmic pattern in music can also improve the ability to detect and make predictions about rhythmic patterns in speech,” said lead author Christina Zhao, a postdoctoral researcher at I-LABS.
“This means that early, engaging musical experiences can have a more global effect on cognitive skills,” Zhao said.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the study this week.
“Infants experience a complex world in which sounds, lights and sensations vary constantly,” said co-author Patricia Kuhl, co-director of I-LABS. “The baby’s job is to recognize the patterns of activity and predict what’s going to happen next. Pattern perception is an important cognitive skill, and improving that ability early may have long-lasting effects on learning.”