Psychologist Sandra Trehub explains at CosmoCaixa that babies are musical by nature

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The ability to understand the music could be innate in humans. Babies react and change of mood when they hear their mothers sing, later they dance to music and after their first birthday, children begin to participate through song.

The psychologist Sandra Trehub, University of Toronto, studies music and listening skills of infants and children. According to her research, babies are able to distinguish and remember melodies with different rhythm or scale, equal or better than adults. Trehub will explain at CosmoCaixa next February 19th at 7pm what are the musical interests and skill of babies and the importance of music in their development.

Trehub team has made several tests to infants and adults and they have found that they have surprisingly similar abilities. Assuming that babies naturally respond to change and pay attention to any novelty, researchers observed that they recognize differences in tone, melody or rhythm and react to this change.

Sandra Trehub also studies the nature maternal singing and its relation to childcare, an activity that seems to be universal, in order to identify cultural similarities and differences and to determine the effect this song has on the baby.


The lecture series “The music and its impact on the body and mind” is organized by the Obra Social “la Caixa” and the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL). The sessions will take place in CosmoCaixa Barcelona from January 31st to June 4th, and will bring together internationally recognized experts like Steven Mithen, Sandra Trehub, Eckart Altenmuller, Jaume Ayats, Emmanuel Bigand and Josef Rauschecker. The series is coordinated by ICREA researcher at IDIBELL and the University of Barcelona, ​​Antoni Rodriguez-Fornells.

The activity aims to understand an amazing cultural phenomenon of our species: the music. The conference will discuss the origin of music and how it has evolved, from the time that one of our ancestors first built a flute to start producing the first sound, approximately 40,000 years ago, to the latest musical and technological transformations. The questions that arise about the music are numerous, from how to develop musical skills in babies to the common features of those with a talent for this art.

In fact, understanding music, their relationship and impact on our body through the expression of emotions, its value as a social and communication link, its evolution over time, history and cultural expressions, “will allow us to better understand where we are going in this area, both to understand future musical expressions to know why music is used in different contexts healing in many cultures”, explains Antoni Rodriguez-Fornells. The coordinator of the lecture series, group leader at the IDIBELL and UB Group of Cognition and Brain Plasticity, notes “the ability of music to stimulate brain plasticity and may contribute to the reorganization of neural circuits”.

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