Science & Technology
Babies can recognize faces while in the womb
By T.K. Randall
June 18, 2017 · 4 comments
Babies are genetically predisposed to recognize faces. Image Credit: sxc.hu
New research has indicated that unborn babies are already capable of picking out face-like shapes.
Despite having never even seen what a face looks like, infants still in the womb appear to be genetically programmed to pick out the subtle visual indicators of a human face.
The find comes courtesy of scientists at Lancaster University and suggests that the instinct to recognize faces is something we are born with, rather than something we learn.
The researchers found that when they projected a face-like image through the uterus the baby turned to look at it, but if the image was a random pattern the baby simply ignored it.
"The foetus in the third trimester actively seeks out information," said Professor Vincent Reid.
"In our study they had to move their head to keep looking at the face-like stimulus when we moved it away from them. So they are active participants in finding information from the environment. What this means is that other ways of interacting with the fetus can be considered."
"The foetus in the third trimester can hear very well. I would encourage expecting parents to read books out loud to each other. This can help with bonding and could be beneficial."
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