Engaging Infants With Music Linked To Social Development

Engaging Infants With Music Linked To Social Development

A recent study has shed light on how music affects social development in infants. Researchers have uncovered valuable insights by observing how infants respond to the rhythm of caregiver singing through their eye movements. These findings highlight the important role of music in shaping early behaviour, brain development and social skills in infants. Let's explore the significance of this research in more detail.

Background Of The Study

The study, conducted by researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), Marcus Autism Center, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and Emory University School of Medicine, involved 112 infants aged 2 months or 6 months.

To examine the effects of caregiver singing on infants' behaviour, the researchers tracked the infants' eye movements while they were being sung to. They utilized eye-tracking technology and presented videos of people singing instead of live performances to ensure consistency in the auditory stimuli. This methodology allowed the researchers to assess any changes in infants' behaviour solely attributable to the music rather than variations in the caregiver's singing style.

What Did The Study Reveal?

The study revealed that infants displayed synchronized eye movements with their caregiver's singing rhythm. At 2 months old, infants were observed to make direct eye contact with the singer, aligning their eye movements with the musical beat. By 6 months, infants were even more likely to look into their caregiver's eyes in sync with the musical rhythm, indicating an increased responsiveness to music over time.

Furthermore, the researchers observed that disruptions in the singing rhythm led to corresponding changes in the infants' eye movements, highlighting the impact of musical rhythm on infant behaviour.

Why Are These Findings Significant?

These findings hold significant implications for early infant development and caregiver-infant interactions. Singing to infants, a universal practice across cultures is soothing and facilitates social visual interactions between caregivers and infants. This study underscores the role of singing in strengthening the bond between caregivers and infants while supporting social learning in the early stages of life.

Moreover, the study suggests that music plays a vital role in early social and emotional development in early childhood, shedding light on its potential impact beyond mere entertainment. The ability to receive rhythmic social information and respond appropriately is crucial for overall social development and communication skills, particularly in infancy. Understanding these connections may offer insights into predicting difficulties related to social development and communication, often observed in conditions such as autism. 


In conclusion, by recognising the importance of music in early development, caregivers and professionals can explore innovative interventions to support healthy socio-emotional growth in infants.

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Dr. Arati Soman

Dr. Arati Soman is a seasoned Ayurvedic physician and Head Formulator at Nisarga Herbs. Driven by a deep passion for Ayurveda and vast expertise, she has been instrumental in formulating medicines, diagnostic procedures, and innovative Ayurvedic treatments that are trusted globally.