Search the Site

Are We Social Even in the Womb?

Humans are social creatures, or so the psychologists tell us. But when does that social behavior start? Is it biological or cultural? A new study from a team of psychologists examines the behavior of twins in utero, and finds that “by the 14th week of gestation, unborn twins are already directing arm movements at each other, and by the 18th week these ‘social’ gestures have increased to 29 percent of all observed movements. In contrast, the proportion of self-directed actions reduced over the same period.” The “kinetics” of the fetuses’ gestures towards each other was also “longer-lasting and slower to decelerate” than other fetal movements, which indicates that “the fetuses recognise on some level that there is something special about their twin.” Note, however, the tiny sample size (only five sets of twins). [%comments]