New research shows babies are born to dance

March 15, 2010

Researchers have discovered that infants respond to the rhythm and tempo of music and find it more engaging than speech.

The findings, based on the study of infants aged between five months and two years old, suggest that babies may be born with a predisposition to move rhythmically in response to .

The research was conducted by Dr Marcel Zentner, from the University of York's Department of Psychology, and Dr Tuomas Eerola, from the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Music Research at the University of Jyvaskyla.

Dr Zentner said: "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.

"We also found that the better the children were able to synchronize their movements with the music the more they smiled.

"It remains to be understood why humans have developed this particular . One possibility is that it was a target of for music or that it has evolved for some other function that just happens to be relevant for music processing."

Infants listened to a variety of audio stimuli including classical music, rhythmic beats and speech. Their spontaneous movements were recorded by video and 3D motion-capture technology and compared across the different stimuli.

Professional ballet dancers were also used to analyse the extent to which the matched their movement to the music.

The findings are published today in the journal Online Early Edition.

More information: The research "Rhythmic engagement with music in infancy" will be available in full at www.pnas.org .

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Research breakthrough in treating anxiety and depression

March 22, 2017

Pioneered by researchers at Monash University, a promising new, 'whole person' approach to the treatment of anxiety and depression has been developed in an effort to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of current treatment, ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

barakn
not rated yet Mar 15, 2010
This is obvious to any parent.
ThomasS
Mar 16, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.