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Study: Babies can hear emotions at 3 months old

Saturday - 7/2/2011, 2:28pm  ET

WASHINGTON -- Research into the way autistic people think has revealed that babies can hear emotions much earlier than previously thought.

Scientists played recordings of laughing, crying and other emotional sounds for 21 sleeping infants. MRI results showed that their temporal cortex was activated, the same area that responds in adults.

In London, Kings College Professor Declan Murphy told the BBC that the babies' brains did not differentiate much between happy and neutral sounds, but sadness always stood out.

Murphy says researchers are trying to learn when brain systems start working so they can understand when and where they go wrong.

WTOP's Evan Haning contributed to this report.

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