A group of British researchers has suggested that babies as young as three months old can recognize human voices and can detect whether the voice is positive or negative.
The researchers played a number of human sounds, such as coughing or yawning, when the babies were sleeping and compared their brain activity when sounds such as water or toys were played.
The researchers said that when human sounds were played, the part of the brain responsible for human vocalization lit up on hearing the neutral human sounds. The researchers also noticed increased brain activity when negative voices, such as crying, were played.
"We were very surprised to find that the area of the temporal cortex that responded to the human voice more than to environmental sounds was so similar in its location to the adult area showing the same specialization", one of the researchers, Evelyne Mercure said. The study will be published in the July 26th edition of the journal Current Biology.