Published May 20, 2010
A study involving 26 one and two-day old newborns proved that babies take in the stimuli around them not only while they’re awake, but also while they’re asleep, the Telegraph reported.
In the experiment by the University of Florida, scientists tested the babies’ abilities to respond to their surroundings by playing a song and then blowing air softly on their eyelids while they were sleeping. Almost all of the babies started to squeeze their eyes tighter after 20 minutes of the experiment whenever they thought the blow of air was coming.
Psychologist Dana Byrd said this form of active sleep doesn’t take place when older kids or adults are sleeping and is unique to newborn babies.
“Newborn infants' sleep patterns are quite different to those of older children or adults in that they show more active sleep where heart and breathing rates are very changeable,” Byrd said.
This is the first experiment performed that has shown this type of learning occurs while newborns are sleeping. Byrd also said the findings of this study may also be used to identify babies who have developmental disorders like dyslexia and autism.