The Effects of Prenatal Exposure to Music on Children\'s Intelligence

The experiment that I wish to conduct is the effect of prenatal exposure to audio stimulation on a child\'s overall intelligence. There have been many studies over the past decade about the relationship between music and intelligence. Emily P. Cary (1987) discovered a correlation between gifted students and music. Students who were exposed to classical music at a young age had better coordination skills, mental ability, and problem solving ability in comparison to those that did not have the exposure to music at a young age.
Psychologists have traditionally accepted that memory begins at approximately years of age. However, with the advent of ultrasounds, in uteri monitors, and fiber optics televisions, there has been significant evidence that learning begins in the womb. In 1982, Dr. Brent Logan (1995) developed the pre-learning theory, which will be used in the experiment that I wish to conduct.
Dr. Brent (1995) suggested that toward the end of gestation, there is a continual loss of fetal brain cells. The loss of brain cells consists after birth, but ceases at an unspecified time in the months after a child is born. Dr. Logan wanted to see if there was a way in which the brain cell loss can be slowed after birth. Dr. Logan conducted an experiment with twelve infants in 1986. Over a period of three years, he exposed the infants to sonic stimulation daily. He found that the group of children that were stimulated after birth had better memories and coordination when compared to those that did not have sonic stimulation. Based on this experiment, the loss of brain cells is considered a natural phenomenon, yet with sonic stimulation and environmental enrichment, the brain cells did not die, but increased neurology within the experimental group.
One of the most cited researchers on prenatal stimulation is the psychologist Beartiz Manrique. Dr. Manrique conducted an experiment in Caracas, Venezuela called "Project Family." She was one of the first doctors to test Dr. Logan\'s pre-learning on fetuses instead of infants. The "Project Family" has been the largest experiment of its kind. It consisted of 680 families. The 680 families were divided into control groups and experimental groups. The goal of the study was to test the pre-learning theory, and to analyze the relationship between stimulation in uterus babies and child development, family integration, health and education.
The study population consisted of Venezuelan mothers between the ages of 18 and 26. The participants had to all be first time mothers, of the same socio-economic status, and had to have an obstetrician certify their pregnancy as healthy. The women also had to commit to frequent visits to a selected OB-GYN to record the progression of the pregnancy and the fetus.
The participants were actually divided into four groups, two experimental groups, and two control groups. The experimental group had to perform a prenatal program, neonatal program designed by Dr, Manrique and other specialists. The mothers of the infants also had to make subsequent visits to the doctor until the child reached the age of six years old.
Dr. Manrique found from birth, there was a difference between the babies born in the experimental group and those that were born in the control group. Babies from the experimental group were more alert, attempted to turn their heads at the sound of their parents\' voices over all ambient noises, and they recognized music that was played while they were still in the womb. Babies that had been prenatally stimulated also seemed to be more social. Overall, the children that received prenatal stimulation did better at the activities that Dr. Manrique had provided to test her subjects. The deliberate audio stimulation ended once the children reached one year of age, but the children were observed continuously until they reached the age of six.


The purpose of my experiment would be to apply Dr. Logan\'s pre-learning theory to infants at the 16th week of gestation as well as the 27th week of gestation. Most research on prenatal infant stimulation has been conducted at the 27th week of gestation. (Logan 1995) This is the period when Dr. Manrique conducted her experiment as well. Since fetuses begin to develop the sense of hearing around the 16th week of gestation,