Prenatal Psychology

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Prenatal Psychology ? The Effects of Stimuli on the Fetus Prenatal Psychology is a rapidly expanding field due to the tremendous increase in technology the world has seen in the last twenty years. What has been learned from numerous studies clearly points to the fetus as being greatly underestimated in years prior. The fact is, the human fetus is capable of many reflexes and learned behaviors only recently revealed by scientific experimentation. The fetus develops at a rapid rate, and the fact that it is in a womb environment makes documenting observations and studies increasingly more difficult. Adding in the fact that the fetus is so small and fragile elucidates the problems in studying the fetus, rendering the field of prenatal psychology the brainchild of recent technological advancements. These technological advancements provide the ability to note effects of certain stimuli that have come to bear weight in the field of prenatal psychology.

The heart of prenatal psychology; stimuli, can be grouped into two categories: ones that produce an innate reflex, and those that can produce a learned behavior.

Prenatal Psychology, if it can be called that, began in the 1920?s. Ray, in 1932 observed in astonishment the response made by the fetus by hitting two boards together (a startled movement). Ray was a pioneer scientist in the field, extremely interested in the behavior of the fetus. Most of these early researchers of the field relied on physiological responses (reflexes) instead of actual psychological development. Today, the knowledge of both areas has grown significantly. (Weinberger ?Lessons of the Music Womb?) The environment the fetus lives in for nine months, the womb, is a sheltered quiet place. However, do not be fooled by this seemingly relaxed place ? much is happening, and at a quick pace. The womb is made up of...