A study conducted by Lancaster University in the United Kingdom has provided evidence that even before birth, babies can recognize and react to faces. The researchers found that unborn babies recognize a “face” configuration as a triangle with two dots (eyes) on the top and one dot (a mouth) on the bottom. When this image was projected on the uterine wall of the mother, the babies turned their heads to look at it when the two dots were on top and did not do so when the image was upside down, with the two dots on the bottom.
The researchers were exploring fetal vision, trying to determine the degree to which babies still in the womb can see.
According to the USA Today, exploring fetal vision by these means is an unprecedented sort of study. There could be a ton of information on this topic waiting to be discovered.
Psychologist and Co-author of the study Vincent Reid explained to the USA Today that a fetus can distinguish between shapes and show preferences, which led to this study. Both animals and humans were researched, leading to shocking results.
The conclusion of the study, according to the report released last Thursday titled, The Human Fetus Preferentially Engages with Face-like Visual Stimuli, emphasizes not only the ability of babies inside the womb to recognize faces, but also their ability to see light to a greater degree than what has been previously determined.
“Recent modeling work has indicated a substantially greater luminance within the uterus than previously thought.Animal models have demonstrated not only that light penetrates into the uterus but also that light penetration is critical in mice for preparing the eye and light response pathway for postnatal vision.”