When we think babies, we often imagine cute and adorable faces with their tiny hands and feet. They are tiny humans who are yet to develop all the skills which we have gathered over the years. But as you read the article, you would understand that they are capable of a lot more than we give them credit for.
1. They Can Recognize Faces Long Before Anything Else
Have you ever seen a newborn baby staring at your face? You may be surprised to know that babies recognize faces long before other objects. Researchers from the Stanford Vision and NeuroDevelopment Lab placed a net of sensors on the infant’s brain to measure the electrical activity by flashing pictures. Even though their visual system hasn’t yet developed completely, it was found that they can process faces nearly at the same level as an adult (1).
2. They Can Hear Multiple Frequencies Of Sound At The Same Time
Babies can hear all frequencies of sounds at the same time. Scientists at the University of Washington tested 73 babies to understand how they hear. It was found that while adults have the ability to differentiate sound from noise, and pay attention to a particular source of the sound, babies hear all sounds simultaneously. This ability may have been of greater advantage during ancient times when hearing a broader spectrum of sound helped us to survive in the wild (2).
3. Babies Start Learning Language Way Before They Are Born
Since their brain and sensory mechanisms are already developed around the third trimester, babies can hear their mothers talk when in the womb. Newborn babies may well be able to identify their mother tongue from a foreign language as they are already exposed to it when in the mother’s womb (3). So if you thought talking to your bump was a silly idea, you might want to think again.
4. Babies Understand Social Cues
It is crucial to understand social interactions for us to respond accordingly. Whether you are talking to your manager or negotiating a deal, or simply buying a product from the market, understanding the social cues will help us in taking the right action. Though babies don’t understand social cues as extensively as adults, they know the basics even if they are just 24 hours old (4).
5. Unborn Babies Heal Without Any Scars
We spend a lot of money on cosmetic surgery trying to fix our scars. But the power to heal without any scars is still only seen in sci-fi movies. Though we can heal from a wound or cut, if it is too deep it is definitely going to leave a scar. But that’s not so for fetuses. Unborn babies can heal scarlessly up to a certain gestational age (5).
6. Babies Can Understand Fairness
Have you ever wondered when our sense of fairness starts developing? Even if we don’t remember the exact date, we certainly can figure out now when we are being ripped off. Our sense of fairness is one factor that helps us function in a social setting. And science says that we develop this ability as young as 15 months. According to a study, babies who were just 15 months of age were able to distinguish a fair situation from an unfair one (6).
7. Babies Can Judge Character
The ability to judge someone’s character is a crucial trait that helps us operate and survive in our world. The ability to figure out if somebody is going to stab our back the moment we turn, steal our belongings, or simply couldn’t be trusted is a helpful skill to make it on our own. We would have thought that judging a person’s character is a skill one would master with life experiences. But it may not be true. According to a study, babies who are just a few months old can size up a person and decide if they want to hang out with them or not (7).
Isn’t it surprising to know how much information and skills they have already developed at such a young age where all we see when we look at them is drooling and staring blankly at objects?