Human Baby Brains are Wired to Hear the Call of the Lemur

by Rachel Baker on September 3, 2013

A study by Sandra Waxman at Northwestern University has had some interesting results about what sounds create different types of cognitive function in infants.

Infants respond to the voices of their doting parents – but it’s not just human voices that hold them spellbound. In what may be a hallmark of our ancestry, human brains begin life hard-wired to hear the calls of non-human primates, an ability that fades away after just a few months.

Past studies with infants have shown that deep cognitive wheels are set turning as they listen to human speech. Now researchers have found that sounds from the blue-eyed Madagascar lemur engage their attention, too, in ways that artificial sounds don’t.

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