Babies may be born to dance

March 19, 2010 at 4:07 PM
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YORK, England, March 19 (UPI) -- The more babies danced to music, the more they smiled, British and Finnish researchers found.

Study leader Marcel Zenter of the University of York in England and Tuomas Eerola of the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland, concluded babies may be born with a predisposition to move in response to rhythm and tempo and find it more engaging than speech.

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

Zenter, Eerola and colleagues had infants age five months to 2 years listen to a variety of audio stimuli including classical music, rhythmic beats and speech. The children's spontaneous movements were recorded and compared across the different stimuli. Professional dancers also analyzed the extent the babies matched their movement to the music.

The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online Early Edition.

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