View Full Version : Fetuses have memories

Play The Man
07-20-2009, 06:31 PM

You probably recall little of your days in the womb, but a new study suggests that short-term memory may be present in fetuses at 30 weeks of age.

Until a few decades ago, "people would say that the human fetus is a sort of black box," said Dr. Jan Nijhuis, a co-author of the study and an obstetrician at Maastricht University Medical Center in The Netherlands. Studies over the years have started to reveal more about the neurological development of humans before they are born, but researchers are still trying to figure out when memory begins and how long it can last.

The new study tested how fetuses in nearly 100 pregnant women responded to a specific stimulus, in this case, a "vibroacoustic stimulation," which is a very low sound that makes a vibration. The researchers observed the reaction using an ultrasound. When the fetus first receives the stimulation, it is startled. But after repeated trials of the same stimulation, 30 seconds apart, the fetus gets used to the sound and doesn't react.

"A normal fetus, of about 30 or 32 or 34 weeks, would stop responding after [about] 13 or 14 stimuli," said Nijhuis.

This lessened response to a repeated stimulus is called habituation, a process that both humans and animals are known to experience. For example, you might become habituated to the sound of your heater at nighttime, hearing it at first, but growing used to the noise after a while and falling asleep, Nijhuis explained.

"Habituation is a form of learning and a form of memory," Nijhuis said. He and his colleagues used the habituation tests to examine memory in fetuses 30 to 38 weeks old. They found that 30-week-old fetuses had a "memory" of 10 minutes if the fetuses received a second round of sound stimulation 10 minutes after the initial test, it took them a lot less time to become habituated to the noise during their second session, and they stopped responding after only a few stimuli, he said.

The researchers also found that 34-week-old fetuses were able to "store information and retrieve it four weeks later," he said. The team came to this conclusion after performing the habituation tests at 34 weeks and then again at 38 weeks. The scientists compared the response of the 38-week-old fetuses who had been tested before with that of fetuses who had not been tested before.

"We saw this striking difference," Nijhuis said. "The fetuses who had been tested before were habituated within two or three or four stimuli, and the other fetuses of 38 weeks responded in the same way as [32 week-old fetuses who had not been tested before]," meaning it took many more stimuli to habituate the 38-week-old fetuses if they had not previously experienced the test at 34 weeks.

07-20-2009, 06:36 PM
Very interesting.

07-20-2009, 07:49 PM
I remeber being in the crib at the hospital and my mom and dad looking at me trying to think of a fitting name for me:huh:

07-20-2009, 11:43 PM
Your Brain stores all Memories, because they are pathways between nerve cells. The thing is that Foetus wont be able to remember their memories because the problem is that the constructs to access the memories, particulalry in terms of when, chronologically things occured...doesnt happen until like two or three years...thats why lots of people have really early memories but they dont know WHEN or WHICH ORDER they occured in...they are like a set of dreams almost.

In theory...if you could send a spark down the right electirical conduit, you could reawaken the memories. THINKING about it and talking can stimulate the memories...so can certain drugs. Like the anti-depressents that I'm on...but you cant control when it will happen.

Sounds and Scents can also trigger a spark to go down a memory channel