Article written

  • on 11.03.2010
  • at 02:26 AM
  • by Rick VanSant

The Digital Snake Oil Salesman 0


The Washington Post recently reported that a growing number of devices (BabyPlus, Lullabelly, BellySonic) that claim to enrich a baby’s long term learning potential, reduce developmental delays, absorb more of their environment etc. Could this be possible? I guess anything could be possible.

Before I go any further, I need to let you know that I have not yet gotten my hands on the original research from a Rene Van de Carr in 1986 or Brent Logan’s reearch in 1987-88 which the BabyPlus claims are the scientific foundation of the prenatal enrichment devices, but I confess that I am sceptical that there is some scientific way to prove it works. Think about it a moment. The testimonials from parents on the website are all glowing accounts of how well their children did after they were born. So… most children do really well after they are born. How does the parent know that the child would have done less well without the classical music. It’s not like you could do a twin study where one twin got it and the other didn’t. I was especially fascinated by the parents who claimed that their child was born prematurely and came home from the hospital right away and had no problems. Could I have a little more data please? How premature for example. Or another mom who claims that her second child, with whom she used the stimulator, was so much different than her first child. Really! No kidding! I’ve never heard of such a thing as two children being different without this developmental accelerator. (sarcasm intended).

In fact, I have nothing against the idea. We know that music activates areas across the brain, and that as plastic as the brain is, it is totally possible that in-utero music could improve cortical connections across the brain. But without any real science to back this up, it just sounds to me like overachieving parents trying to push their children at even earlier ages, kind of like they did during the big 1980 – 90 fancy preschool boom – that turned to bust.

What do you think?

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