The things we learn before we are born

He often believes that birth is the moment when our life begins as beings capable of gaining their autonomy. It is easy to think that the social life of human beings begins when there is no longer a physical separation between us and others. When we are able to breathe the same air, see the same things and look each other in the eye.

This is all very intuitive and it seems natural that it should be so, but it is not true. Long before we leave our mother’s womb, we already have the chance to learn about the environment we will live in one day, As demonstrated by multiple experiments.

Perception always begins in the womb

We know that we are capable of recognize the mother’s vocalizations long before birth. This is already an example of learning, because it is knowledge formed through repeated experiences and for a practical purpose (recognizing the person who will take care of us once we are born). In fact, mothers are recommended to talk to their unborn baby so that from the first moments, they have various stimuli and can exercise their different skills. However, this phenomenon is only a sample of the many ways that experience interferes with our behavior during pregnancy.

Sound recognition is not limited to the voices of nearby people. It can become expandable to other everyday sounds during the pregnancy months. For example, it is proven that babies who are not yet born can recognize them to the music of TV series that her mother usually sees.

In addition, babies are able not only to recognize mother’s voice, but also her smell. Interestingly, babies they prefer the smell of sweat if it is their mother’s. Babies of a few weeks react very strongly when exposed to the smell of the amniotic fluid in which they have been enveloped. This fact can give an idea of ​​what is the key to recognizing the mother’s scent in the objects she leaves.

Beyond the senses of hearing and smell, touch it also plays a role in learning during pregnancy. Recent research the results published in PLoS ONE shows how fetuses tend to respond to the mother’s petting on her tummy by doing something similar with her body. In fact, the babies used as a sample responded more intensely to these strokes than to the mother’s voice, and they did so by touching their own breasts in a manner similar to that of another person on the other side of the face. belly. Researchers believe this is an attempt to communicate with the mother.

Investigations continue

These are some of the conclusions drawn experimentally, but there are probably other examples of prenatal learning that have yet to be discovered. Taken together, these surveys show that the maternal womb is as valuable an environment as any other for learning, Although we do it without having started at least years.

Bibliographical references:

  • Beauchamp, GK, Katarina, K., Yamazaki, K., Mennella, JA, Bard, J. and Boyse, EA (1995). Evidence suggesting that the types of odors in pregnant women are a compound of maternal and fetal odors. PNAS, 92, pages 2617 to 2621.
  • Hepper, PG (1988). Dependence on fetal “soap”. The Lancet, 23 (2), pages 1347-1348.
  • Marx, V. and Nagy, E. (2015). Fetal behavioral responses to maternal voice and touch. PLoS ONE, accessed here.

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