Curiosity: Does Music Affect a Fetus?

Discovery Channel, November 8, 2011

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • jewamongyou

    It would be interesting to repeat this experiment with a large enough number of fetuses that conclusions can be drawn. If consistent differences are seen between white fetuses and black fetuses (controlling for environment), the establishment would be in crisis. What are they going to claim? That the fetuses are “racist”?

    http://www.jewamongyou.wordpress.com

  • Hirsch

    The question raised by this short video becomes “When, where, and how are white children deracinated, weaned away from the biological common sense that tells them even in the womb that rap is the music of their enemy?”

    The rap group Public Enemy rose to fame singing “Elvis was a hero to most, but he never meant s— to me/Is he straight up racist or simple and plain/ F— him and John Wayne.”

    So why have whites embraced this self-hatred? The easy copout is to once again blame it on “the jooz” as they do over at the Occidental Observer, but I am genuinely curious.

  • Robert Binion

    This seems abusive to me. An hour or two of Streisand would make my water break. The babes may be responding to distortion rather than genre. In my experience, blacks will tolerate far higher levels of it during recorded playback. Women, by the way, have most sensitive ears. The wife who complains about her husband’s too loud football game on TV is usually justified. By coincidence, this is from Alexander Blachly’s notes to an LP of music by Johannes Ockeghem to which I listened for the first time today (Nonesuch H-71336): “Perhaps more than any of his contemporaries, he displays in his music a Northern preference for long, organically extended melodies and for a density of counterpoint that forswears such Italianate traits as points of imitation or brief sections in dance-like triple meter.”

  • Anonymous

    It looked like the white baby started crying when assaulted by the hip hop. I understand completely!

  • Awakened

    Well?

    We didn’t hear their conclusions. I’ll bet though that they didn’t conclude anything that could be construed as “racist”. I would NEVER EVER allow my wife to take part in an experiment like this, where Rap music is played through headphones right into her stomach. It could damage an unborn fetus, it’s hearing and who knows what else. And it doesn’t matter what music is played. I’m not surprised though that the White baby grimaced. I’m not surprised at all. Why didn’t these so-called “researchers” play White music? Why did they choose Black Rap music? Because it’s “Politically Correct”? Because to do otherwise would be “racist”? Why not Bach? Why not The Beatles? Why this garbage music? Because anything that’s “Black” is good and anything that’s White is “racist”?

  • Anonymous

    The unscientific conclusion would be that black genes endow their owner with an appreciation for ‘black sounds’.

    It matters not if a black child is raised by a white, adoptive family, and is never exposed to rhythm and blues. As soon as he hears it for the first time, he recognizes it as ‘his’.

    Nature is established long before nurture begins.

  • Anonymous

    I know the feeling well. I’m no longer a white fetus but I’m still white and it still makes me grimace!

  • Quinhagak

    Only two babies – you can’t conclude anything from this. It isn’t science. Two different babies might give different results.

  • Madison Grant

    How can this be? The feminist movement holds that fetuses aren’t living creatures; they’re just useless blobs of flesh.

  • Anonymous

    Proof that whites are “racisss” even before birth…

  • Rhialto

    The (liberal) explanation would be that the white mother’s racism is somehow being imposed her fetus causing the prenatal racist response. Perhaps in this case, the liberals are right.

  • Kenelm Digby

    Strangely enough, as a fully grown adult, my instinct is to grimace at rap ‘music’.

  • Nord

    This is completly pseudoscientific

    Come back when you find the same results on a thousand other babies too

  • Southern Hoosier

    Discovery Channel is not exactly the Fox News Channel. Most of their stories have a liberal lean to them. Global warming would be an example.

  • Anonymous

    Madison Grant #9: The Feminsists are useless blobs of flesh.

  • Liberte

    Did I see him throwing gang signs?

  • karl anglin

    Studies have shown that a fetus exposed

    to classical music while still in the

    womb tends to be of higher intellect.

  • Elitist

    I’ve always considered that growing up in a household filled with classical music (every member of my family played at least one musical instrument) must have contributed to my decision to get a traditional conservatory training in music.

    It seems plausible that the sounds I heard while still in the womb also conditioned my brain development, and perhaps musical ability.

    You do not need a scientist to tell you that having a child, or unborn child, listen to Bach, Beethoven, and Debussy is going to be better for his or her mental and musical development than rap music.

    I agree with the commenters who feel that blasting a fetus with rap music seems abusive.

    While Asians seem to love European classical music, blacks seem to reserve a special loathing for it.

    There have been some extraordinary opera black singers, most of them women, but virtually no black conductors, soloists, or orchestra musicians.

    It is likely that the African mind developed in ways that make appreciation of European classical music difficult if not impossible.

    What I find bizarre is that whites would appropriate hip-hop music – which is hardly music at all.

    The great musical legacy of African-Americans is Jazz, which is deserving of respect and appreciation.

    The fact that young whites reject both European classical music and jazz for the music of the gutter strikes me as inconceivably tragic.

    It takes an entire lifetime just to listen to just the greatest examples of European music once or twice – why would any intelligent person waste their time with trash??

  • Richard

    This is slightly off the topic but did anyone notice that the white mother was accompanied by her husband and daughter while the black mother was alone during the experiment?

  • Thrasymachus

    How can the viewer look at a fetus in this way and still think that it is “not yet a human being”?

  • Netzach

    #1 Jewamongyou,

    “It would be interesting to repeat this experiment with a large enough number of fetuses that conclusions can be drawn. If consistent differences are seen between white fetuses and black fetuses (controlling for environment), the establishment would be in crisis. What are they going to claim? That the fetuses are “racist”?”

    Fetuses are pretty sensitive to mother’s mood, so I think that the first line of defense (and pretty plausible one too), would be that white mothers in question thought hip hop unpleasant and somewhat distressing, and certainly nothing they’d normally listen to feel good, while black mothers were opposite. One could postulate about different genetic mechanisms influencing musical preferences (and presumably strongest in womb, before any real cultural influence has set in), but without clear proof those would be just hypotheses.

  • sheila

    Richard wrote at 1:51 PM on November 16:

    This is slightly off the topic but did anyone notice that the white mother was accompanied by her husband and daughter while the black mother was alone during the experiment?

    Ha…guess it was the oxytocin connection after all.

  • Phil

    My baby was happy to hear Wagner when she was in the womb, and still is.

    Wagner is cryptonite to blacks. Play it loud when they are around and see how they feel threatened and scared.

  • Justin

    Musical tastes and musical preferences are extremely subjective. Music stirs the soul and touches the heart regardless of race, creed or color. Case in point: Jerry Wexler (one of Atlantic Records’ original owners and a legendary talent scout and record producer in his own right) absolutely loved Aretha Franklin from the very moment he heard her and he (not surprisingly) went on to produce her greatest recordings. By the same token, Arista Records’ founder Clive Davis was enamored of Whitney Houston the very first time he heard her sing and (allegedly) vowed to make her a superstar (which he did). BTW, both Davis and Wexler are Jewish men. Music has often been described as food for the soul and (as such) what’s really important is that the song and the artist’s interpretation touch the listener’s heart and soul. Believe it or not, there are many Blacks who have a strong disdain for Rap music and do not listen to it at all. The fact that major cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago and other major cities have “classics only”/”oldies only” stations proves this.

  • Sincerely Concerned

    Like Brian Wilson has said about himself, my first exposure to Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue changed my life. I will be forever grateful that my father had music as diverse as The Allman Brothers, Ray Charles, Herb Alpert, Willie Nelson, George Gershwin, Arlo Guthrie, Simon and Garfunkel, Frank Sinatra, Percy Sledge, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, Kiss (!), Elvis Presley, Stan Getz, Hank Williams, Dave Brubeck, and many more examples laying around the house when I was a kid.

    I am also grateful that my public school, which today I suppose would be called a magnet school, took us on frequent field trips to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. To this day my musical taste is extremely eclectic. A glance at my CD collection or MP3 downloads would make one think I’ve multiple personalities. From the Jackson 5 to electronica to Middle Eastern, I’ve got it all, including early rap from LL Cool J and Salt ‘n Pepa.

    Then rap/hiphop took its downturn in the early nineties with all the gangsta stuff. They used to rap about eating dinner with the family and cool athletic shoes. But for the past twenty years or so it’s largely been about killing cops, each other, and slappin’ a ho. I really wonder what happened. Maybe they decided just to appeal to the street. Who knows?

    To the poster who wrote about Wagner, my opinion is that Wagner’s music can tend toward the dark side melodically and thematically–it can really change one’s mood quickly. By the way, I love Wagner’s music because it’s so rich, full, and unforgiving without being crude or base.

    Today’s rap? I hear only thuds and thugs and I can easily tune it out. It’s primitive. But throw in the fact that the lyrics appeal to certain listeners by going on about hate and being dissed, etc., then you have to consider perhaps it’s the lyrics they enjoy most. This explains why rap appeals to young white males. They’re also full of angst.

    But I feel that the biggest reason rap is so “popular” is because it’s been hefted on all young people since at least 1991 as the coolest thing to listen to–the new rock and roll, if you will. It fits with the idea of “if your parents hate it, you will love it”. What I find amazing, though, is how rappers themselves literally get away with murder. I try not to mix artists’ work with their lives but I can’t reconcile this. Julia Roberts’ words vs. rappers’ guns–there’s a big difference.

  • White Mom

    I went to an Opera at the Kennedy Center when I was heavily pregnant with my first son. He stopped kicking or moving for the first 20 minutes (listening hard, I’d imagine), and then kicked up a storm every time this amazing Alto sang.

    A year later, the same son gave his first really “dirty look” to the stereo when I played an old Madonna CD. It appears my son has better taste in music than I do.

  • RationalObservationist

    Amren, are you serious with this? This must be a joke article. I mean, with one Black fetus and one White fetus, you draw sweeping conclusions like this? That is the ABSOLUTE epitome of pseudoscientific. Please, don’t lose your integrity and devolve into another Stormfront; a place where claims that Sub-Saharan Africans don’t possess 46 chromosomes is taken seriously.

  • WR the elder

    I agree with #1 jewamongyou that we need the study done on a larger sample. If indeed black fetuses consistently react to hip hop differently than white fetuses we will see important programs started to end fetal racism.

  • John

    This research shows that white racism exists even in the womb among white foetuses! Clearly all white babies should be aborted and the parents should be made to adopt African children.

    The white race is hopelessly racist, even white foetuses instinctively grimace when exposed to the beautiful music of coloured people thus showing their white supremacist and intolerant attitudes! Given the facts what solution is there other than the destruction of the white race in order to end racism?

  • Distant Observer

    Rap is not for everyone. Rap is bongo-bongo from Africa reborn, all rhythm and little melody, improvised and hypnotic, the tribe dancing itself to a frenzy around the fire.

  • Elsie

    While I will be the first to admit that most racial differences are hereditary, not environmental, I must point out that in other studies, it’s been shown that babies in the womb respond to music they’ve heard many times before. In this particular case, I would surmise that the black mother herself listens to rap, and therefore her fetus has come to like the sound, whereas the opposite is true for the white fetus.

  • jewamongyou

    Re: #27 RationalObservationist,

    Calm down. If you’ve been reading Amren for a while, you should know that not every item is meant to be a scientifically valid argument. I doubt that the editors actually consider this much more than a humorous anecdote of racial realities.

    http://www.jewamongyou.wordpress.com

  • Bardon

    Of course, article is about a junk science. BUT:

    1. rap is crud

    2. I don’t expect the majority of Whites to be entranced with Gregorian chant, Josquin de Prez, Orlando di Lassso, Palestrina, Bach, Mozart, Purcell, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Mahler, Orff, …but you got Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, ELP, ZZ Top,…Leonard Cohen,..Hank Williams, Willie Nelson,..

    And yet, many White people listen to this combination of dumbing noise & obscenity. Beats me …

  • Bardon

    And yet…..(I’m just trying to be fair): I’ve listened some original music from Africa (sorry, I wasn’t much interested in exact location nor in performers, so I can’t identify them). This African folk music was melodically rich, very harmonious & pleasing to listen. Worlds apart from hip hop. Also, different from “older” A-A musical “production” (jazz, blues, gospel,..).

    Not unlike Bolivian & other indigenous Indian music (“El condor pasa …”)

    Rap is simply the lowest of the low.

  • Sandi

    I don’t know why, but I have never liked any “black” originated music, this includes soul, hip hop, rap, jazz, and some blues. When I was a teenager, the Beatles and British Invasion was a welcome addition to the black dominated popular music scene.

    However, I admit, I don’t like country or lounge lizard stuff either. Most black singers sound like they are whining or in duress to me. It is most irratating, especially the high pitched women who scream out like they are in a fit of woe.

    The only black artists I can stand are Prince, Tina Turner, and Michael Jackson.

    My tastes run to classical, some new age, and 80’s metal/hard rock. Of which, allot of true “metal” bands are based on classical structure.

    I read somewhere that European music styles are based on melody, not beat. And other ethnic groups center on beat not melody. So it is obvious that it is something in the genetic makeup.

    What cracks me up are the loud “rap mobiles” that drive on the streets, I am always expecting the car to fall apart like the “silver hornet” in the Pink Panther movies!!

    Wasn’t there a judge that made gang members listen to classical music or Frank Sinatra as punishment? HA..

  • T

    As a professional musician, I can equivocally state that “rap” or “hip-hop” is NOT “music”. It is my opinion that if you cannot sing the melody, it is merely rhythm and NOT music. It was sad to see that “rap” garbage assaulting that white baby . . .