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Child Dev. 2009 Jul-Aug;80(4):1251-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01329.x.

Aspects of fetal learning and memory.

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Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht 6202 AZ, The Netherlands.


Ninety-three pregnant women were recruited to assess fetal learning and memory, based on habituation to repeated vibroacoustic stimulation of fetuses of 30-38 weeks gestational age (GA). Each habituation test was repeated 10 min later to estimate the fetal short-term memory. For Groups 30-36, both measurements were replicated in a second session at 38 weeks GA for the assessment of fetal long-term memory. Within the time frame considered, fetal learning appeared GA independent. Furthermore, fetuses were observed to have a short-term (10-min) memory from at least 30 weeks GA onward, which also appeared independent of fetal age. In addition, results indicated that 34-week-old fetuses are able to store information and retrieve it 4 weeks later.

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