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Our fascination with faces may start in the womb

Hussein Malla / AP

One of the first things every new parent learns is that babies love faces. Infants study them endlessly and prefer them over almost anything else they might see. Now, we have the first evidence that this preference for faces may, in fact, develop in the womb.

Researchers reported today in Current Biology that developing fetuses at 34 weeks consistently turned toward face-like images projected on the inside of the womb over other objects. The study is the first to show that it may, in fact, be possible to examine visual cognition of babies before they are born.