By: Nicholas Duke: u0660012
The product I chose to investigate is called Belly Buds, which are engineered and created to help babies develop the memory region of their brains prior to birth. The product targets mothers of all ages. The way the product works is such that any mother can record her voice and play the voice recordings through the buds that adhere to her stomach almost like little suction cups for the baby to hear music or mom more clearly. The suction cup like belly buds have a cord that attaches into the auxiliary port of the mothers phone or music device. A mother can also play music for the baby. This may allow for a secure mother-infant attachment bond to be made quicker and for the jumpstart of long-term memory in infants (1)
The reason that this product interests me is because I have always heard that Mozart makes babies smarter. Up until now I have just always semi-believed the claim and have never taken the opportunity to look for evidence that supports it. This product has relevance to helping advance the intellectual ability of children before they slip out of the womb and into the extremely competitive world. We all want our children to have the best chance, the most effective job, the happiest family, and the most successful life possible. I feel like most parents want to bend over backwards for their children just to give them the edge that they didn’t or recreate a special opportunity they had for their children.
Bornstein, et. al focuses most of their attention on cognition in infancy and not in prenatal development. However, in chapter 4 of the fifth edition of Development in Infancy, Bornstein, et al. do spend a small amount of time discussing the development of the sensory systems prenatally in utero. Taste, smell, and auditory senses all develop before birth. With the development of these senses prior to birth we can assume that a baby is cognizant to a certain degree inside of the womb (2).
In the PLOS ONE Journal, on journal article titled “Prenatal Music Exposure Induces Long- Term Neural Effects”, researchers were able to see higher event-related potentials (ERPs) results when comparing a learning group of infants exposed to Twinkle Twinkle Little Start music at birth and a control group of infants not exposed to the music at all. A total of twelve pregnant women were used in the learning group and twelve pregnant women were used in the control group. A neonatologist examined the hearing capacity of fetuses and results from the exams came back normal. All of the learning mother participants were assigned to play Twinkle Twinkly Little Star five times a week from twenty-nine weeks to birth. The learning group was instructed not to play any music after the birth of their children.
Ultimately ten infants were evaluated at four months after birth to see if they recognized the music played for them prenatally. When the music was played or altered the ERPs were greater for the learning infant group than the control group. The researchers concluded that fetuses do learn prenatally and can retain information for at least up to four months after birth (3).
The specific claims made by the Belly Buds product were; that by having a baby listen to music and the mother’s voice it could influence the memory of the baby and help the mother create an attachment with the baby. The study, “Prenatal Music Exposure Induces Long- Term Neural Effects” aforementioned, supports the claim that the long-term memory of infants can be jumpstarted by exposing them to music in the womb. More research would need to be done to determine if prenatal exposure to a mother’s voice using this product would help the mother-infant attachment. As far as this product is concerned there doesn’t seem any harm that could be done with it to the fetus in utero (3).
Based on my research it seems that the Belly Buds product could jumpstart the memory and learning experience of fetuses in utero. Additional studies need to be done with a larger cohort of participants to see if ERP results are consistent. Furthermore, the home, work, and extracurricular environments of the participants need to be analyzed, understood, and participants grouped in order to truly magnify ERP results. Environmental factors at home, work, or during recreation could have an affect on fetuses due to the different stimuli placed on the fetus. These should be taken into serious consideration seeing as they could alter ERP results. With regard to this product and if I would recommend my wife use it. I think it sounds interesting. Moreover, I don’t feel like it is necessary to jumpstarting the intellect of my children someday. However, individuals without good educational opportunities and having an overall low socioeconomic status could take advantage of this product. One interesting longitudinal study could be conducted on fetuses in utero using ERP technology to see if it would help low socioeconomic and poor educational opportune children.
- BellyBuds (5th Generation) | Prenatal Pregnant Headphones | Belly Phones That Play Music And Voices For The Brain Development Of Your Unborn Baby | The Perfect Baby Shower Gift. (n.d.). (B. Buds, Producer, & Belly Buds) Retrieved from amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/BellyBuds-Generation-Prenatal-HeadphonesDevelopment/dp/B01A6B3H9I/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1486772206&sr=8-1&keywords=belly%2Bbuds&th=1
- Bornstein, M. H., Arterberry, M. B., & Lamb, M. E. (2014). Development in Infancy: a contemporary introduction. Psychology Press.
- Partanen, E., Kujala, T., Tervaniemi, M., & Huotilainen, M. (2103, October 30). Prenatal Music Exposure Induces Long-Term Neural Effects. PLOS ONE .