Scientists: the fetus responds to the faces of the people still inside the womb

© Photo : Kirsty Dunn & Vincent ReidУльтразвуковая photograph of the face and hands of the baby in the wombScientists: the fetus responds to the faces of the people still inside the womb© Photo : Kirsty Dunn & Vincent Reid

Children begin to respond to the faces of people and pay them more attention than other objects of the environment even before birth, inside the womb of the mother, say British scientists in an article published in the journal Current Biology.

«We found that a fetus can distinguish objects of different shapes and prefers to follow things that are similar to human faces than to other objects. The presence of such behaviors in children we know for several decades, but no one’s ever occurred to me to see how the vision of the embryo,» says Vincent Reid (Vincent Reid) from the University of Lancaster (UK).

Children in the womb and cubs in the body of female mammals and the eggs of birds, today scientists believe, is not so isolated from the outside world, as was previously assumed. For example, in recent years, biologists have discovered that the Chicks of songbirds can produce trills, which recognize their mother before hatching from the egg, and the young squirrels and other mammals receive from the mother’s body information about the world, which helps them later to survive.

The children of people in turn, as was shown by observing them using the latest technology called 4D ultrasound, which reed and his colleagues conducted five years ago, hiccup, yawn, swallow and do other things that were previously considered impossible for unborn children.

This discovery made Reid and his team to look for other signs of «meaningful» actions in prenatal behavior of infants. For this experiment, the scientists had obtained the concurrence of four dozen expectant mothers who agreed to undergo an unusual ultrasound examination in the laboratory, scientists from the University of Lancaster.

In this survey, biologists first localized the position of the head of the baby in the womb of mothers, and then highlight it with the help of several laser beams, mimicking they are different figures, including a schematic depiction of a human head and triangle. Then they started to displace the laser spot and watched if the fetus turns its head along with them, making sure the «face» or a triangle.

As shown by these observations, infants more often turned his head together with a schematic face than with the triangle, which speaks in favor of the fact that they are able to distinguish the shapes of objects and to respond to the face before exiting the womb.

«There is a possibility that the embryo simply believes this figure more interesting than other stimuli. But then he would just as actively reacted to the upside down face of what actually happens. Therefore, we can say that embryos can respond to the faces of the people as well as do the babies,» continues the biologist.

This discovery, as noted by Reid, suggests that the psychological development and the actual life of the child begins before he leaves the womb. In the near future scientists are going to understand common for fetuses and other babies, including the ability to distinguish the number of items. To examine this question, according to biologists, will help us understand when does «independent» child development and how it occurs in the womb of mothers.