Ba­bies see faces from the womb, says study

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

BA­BIES have been found to be able to recog­nise the shape of a face while in the womb.

Un­til re­cently it was thought the in­side of the womb was com­pletely dark.

But now a re­search project shows that not only can light get through, ba­bies can ac­tively fol­low a shape.

While the im­age that can be pro­jected into the womb is fuzzy, sci­en­tists say it is enough to show ba­bies can and do make use of their sense of vi­sion be­fore birth.

In the fu­ture, higher res­o­lu­tion im­ages could be shown to the un­born rais­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of par­ents beam­ing pic­tures of them­selves into the womb for their ba­bies to see.

Bri­tish sci­en­tists pro­jected red light in the shape of a face on to the mother’s stom­ach. Only red light which has the short­est wave­length can pen­e­trate the skin, mus­cle and fluid sep­a­rat­ing the baby from the out­side world.

When the lights were in the shape of a crude face two dots for eyes and one dot for a mouth ba­bies turned their heads to look at the face. But they were less likely to re­spond when the lights were up­side down and more likely to turn their heads away from it.

The re­search is the first to show that ba­bies are able to re­spond to im­ages in the womb. The find­ings help to ex­plain why ba­bies are so re­spon­sive to faces from birth.

Dr Vin­cent Reid of Lan­caster Univer­sity said: “We have shown the foe­tus can dis­tin­guish be­tween dif­fer­ent shapes, pre­fer­ring to track face-like over non-face-like shapes.” – Daily Mail

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