Just like adults, babies too appreciate music, suggests a new research, which found that newborns can feel the beat.
The study may help diagnose abnormal brain development early on, reports New Scientist.
Studying children's sense of musical timing has long been challenging.
Yet brain scans show that these 2- and 3-day-olds could perceive musical patterns and even take note when a drummer missed a beat, the study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows.
To reach the conclusion, a team led by Istvan Winkler from the Institute for Psychology in Budapest, Hungary, and Henkjan Honing from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands tested beat perception in newborns using EEG.
This can measure their electrical brain responses to sounds, even when the babies are sleeping.
The team played a rock drum rhythm to 14 sleeping babies two or three days old. Sometimes the sequence skipped a sound without disrupting the rhythm, while other omissions made the rhythm stumble.
When a missed note broke the rhythm, the babies had a key brain response indicating that their sensory expectations were contradicted.
"Beat perception is there right from birth," Winkler concludes.
With the help of the findings, the researcher hopes to discover whether poor beat perception in newborns signals later problems in speech and communication, which also require a good sense of timing.
If so, it would be possible to identify and help vulnerable kids from day one.