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October 21, 2020 Wednesday 05:18:31 PM IST

Research shows lullabies in any language relax babies

Parent Interventions

Researchers at Harvard’s Music Lab have determined that American infants relaxed when played lullabies that were unfamiliar and in a foreign language. Their results were published in Nature Human Behaviour on Oct. 19.

The new findings supported the latter hypothesis: Infants responded to universal elements of songs, despite the unfamiliarity of their melodies and words, and relaxed. The study was conducted in 2018 and 2019 at the Music Lab, which focuses on the psychology of music from infancy to adulthood.

In the experiment, each infant watched an animated video of two characters singing either a lullaby or a non-lullaby. To measure the infants’ relaxation responses to the recordings, the researchers focused on pupil dilation, heart rate changes, electrodermal activity (a measure of “arousal” or excitement, from electrical resistance of the skin), frequency of blinking, and gaze direction as indicators of relaxation or agitation. Generally, the infants experienced a decrease in heart rate and pupil dilation, and attenuated electrodermal activity in response to the unfamiliar lullabies.

The researchers had to act quickly because of their subjects’ limited attention spans; most babies could pay attention for about five minutes before getting distracted.




(Content Courtesy: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/10/research-shows-lullabies-in-any-language-relax-babies/)


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