Proof that babies really don't miss a trick

September 15, 2000

Babies learn to recognise their mother tongue in the womb, can distinguish a foreign language within days of being born and are interested in magic tricks at a very young age, new research has shown.

Within four days of birth, they can distinguish between the language used by their mother and foreign tongues, psychology lecturer Todd Bailey of Cardiff University told the British Association's annual festival of science this week.

Bruce Hood, head of developmental psychology at Bristol University, said babies could tell when they were being shown a magic trick: "They may not gasp in disbelief but they do look reliably longer at magic tricks, if only for an extra few seconds."

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