Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fetuses Recognize Facelike Shapes: Study

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fetuses Recognize Facelike Shapes: Study

Article excerpt

Third-trimester fetuses can recognize facelike patterns of light shown to them in the womb, according to a new study.

Researchers say the study indicates that babies are neurologically prepared even before birth to recognize faces. The noninvasive methods used also open the door to further study of cognition in fetuses.

The study was published Thursday in Current Biology. Vincent Reid of Lancaster University in the United Kingdom was the first author. Nadja Reissland of Durham University in the UK was the senior author.

Researchers presented 39 fetuses with a facelike pattern projected through their mothers' abdomen, along with an inverted pattern. Their movements were tracked with high-resolution ultrasound.

The 34-week fetuses preferentially turned in the direction of the facelike stimulus, which corresponded to two eyes and a mouth. …

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