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The Secret Life of Babies - Part One

The Secret Life of Babies - Part One

Thirty years ago the conventional wisdom was that the fetus in the womb could not hear. Today scientists have shown that by the seventh month of pregnancy, all five of the fetus's senses are working and that the baby may actually remember and learn from prenatal experiences.

THE SECRET LIFE OF BABIES, a two-part documentary, explores the extent of the baby's vast world of perceptions, from intrauterine life (Part 1) to the first months following birth (Part 2). How does the baby perceive its world and ours? What are its capacities for learning and memorizing? Do babies respond to the voices of their mothers and other external stimuli? What happens when the baby leaves the intrauterine environment of amniotic fluid, where all its needs were satisfied almost instantly, and enters the world of air and gravity?

Filmed in France, Canada and the U.S., the documentary features remarkable intrauterine footage showing the fetus's response to external stimuli, evoking a sense of awe at the wondrous experience of childbirth. Through interviews with some of the world's leading cognitive and developmental psychologists, doctors, and scientists-including Dr. Anthony DeCasper (University of North Carolina, Greensboro), a specialist in the early development of human perception, Dr. Robert Lickliter (Florida International University), co-Director of the Infant Development Research Center, Dr. Linka Polka (McGill University), Director of McGill's inter-disciplinary doctoral program in language acquisition, and others-this film reveals what we know today about the baby's experiences before and after birth, in particular how it organizes its perceptions and how this relates to fundamental and lifelong questions of memory, language and learning.

THE SECRET LIFE OF BABIES shows that, although all the brain's neurons are present when the baby is born, the process of connecting them, and of acquiring and organizing information, continues well into the teenage years. Indeed, the brain's processing of experience is a lifelong activity, and, in that sense, being alive is being perpetually born.

Dr. Anthony DeCasper is a Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. His research specialties include the early development of human perception and learning from the prenatal period to the preschool years. Dr. DeCasper received his PhD from Emory University in 1974.

Dr. Robert Lickliter is a Professor of Psychology at Florida International University. He is also the Co-Director of the Infant Development Research Center at Florida International University as well as a Research Professor of Pediatrics at University of Miami Medical School. Dr. Lickliter received his PhD from the University of California, Davis in 1983.

Dr. Lorraine Bahrick is a Professor of Psychology at Florida International University. She received her PhD in Experimental/Cognitive Psychology from Cornell University in 1979.

Dr. Linka Polka is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at McGill University. She is also the Interim Director of McGill's inter-disciplinary doctoral program in language acquisition. Dr. Polka received her PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Minnesota.;;Dr. Barbara Kisilevsky is a Professor of Nursing at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. She received her PhD from Queens University.

'Enlightening...A thought-provoking, frequently illuminating analysis of a cutting-edge topic of both academic and general interest, this is highly recommended.'-Video Librarian

'With a great deal of sensitivity and concrete examples, the film reveals the state of contemporary research. It attempts to understand how, and with what knowledge and capacities, humans are born. This documentary has the grand merit of posing questions that any parent, or anyone observing a newborn, would eventually ask.'-L'Humanité

'Beautiful and well done, the material is intrinsically interesting, and there are some wonderful ultrasound views of the fetus and videos taken through a fetoscope.'-Science Books and Films

'Fascinating... parents, medical professionals, and students involved in neo-natal care will benefit greatly from seeing this documentary.' Leonardo On-Line Reviews


Main credits

George, Bernard (film director)

Other credits

Image, Jean-Louis Laforêt [and 3 others]; montage, Pierre-Joseph Licidé; musique originale, Robert Baccherini.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Family Relations
Health Issues
Neuroscience and Neurology
Women's Health
Women's Studies


Bernard George; Pregnancy; prenatal ; intrauterine; birth ; neurons; cognitive; developmental; psychologists; doctors; scientists; memory; language; learning. ; Senses; hearing; ; prenatal; neo natal; natal; film; video; documentary; gender; social; biology; Why Men Don't Iron; gender studies; brain; socialization; boys; girls; genetics; family; women's studies; myth; social conditioning; hormones; ironing; football; stereotype; Learning the Difference; The Brain at Work; The Emotional Difference; neuroscience; womb; Psychologists and Other Specialists Featured in; "THE SECRET LIFE OF BABIES"; Icarus Films

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