During a recent study conducted by the University of Montreal, scientists have discovered that the traditional “baby-talk” can actually induce more stress in an infant than singing. Music can soothe the baby, and it seems to work splendidly when the infant is exposed to the voice of his mother.
Primarily, the study, which has already been published in the Infancy medical journal, hovered around the effects of both speech and singing on the infant’s emotional self-control mechanism. The study discovered that an infant could be “trained” to develop a stronger emotional self-control when he is exposed to music.
It seems that being swept away by music can actually be the first step a child takes in the process of developing a healthy personality. The study enrolled more than 30 healthy infants, with ages ranging from six to nine months.
As part of the experiment, the infants were put in a quiet room and exposed to different stimuli. When the infants started to cry, the parents were asked to calm down their babies by talking to them. We should also mention the fact that the babies could only hear the voice of their parents but they couldn’t see their faces. Scientists wanted to rule out the possibility that a parent’s facial expression could influence the child’s emotional self-control ability.
Results pointed out that by using plain speech, the baby would calm down for about four to six minutes and then he would start crying again.
Later on, scientists exposed the babies to music. Using traditional Turkish tunes, they discovered that the babies would keep their self-control for about 9 minutes, before throwing another temper tantrum. They also played other tunes to see if the results are consistent. So, music can soothe the baby and it apparently it can significantly reduce stress.
In the last part of this experiment, researchers employed one last aspect to see if music can induce a state of serenity in a child. By combining adult-directed speech and music, they’ve asked the infant’s mothers to make a record of them singing. By playing back the recording, scientists have discovered that the all results are consistent.
Studies of such nature are not entirely new to the scientific community. In a similar paper, a team of neurobehavioral scientist were able to demonstrate the fact that a child’s musical ear can develop while he is still in the womb, by listening to the mother’s heartbeats.
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