Unlike adults, the brain of an infant acts like a sponge that will take in everything at every opportunity it may have for learning, even while sleeping! This was proven when a researcher from the University of Florida conducted a study on infants to identify those that may be at risk to have developmental disorders like autism and dyslexia.
The test was conducted by playing different tones followed by a gentle puff of air to the eyelids.
After 20 minutes of the test, the same set of music was played; this time without the gentle puff, but, 24 out of the 26 babies squeezed their eyes after hearing the same sound when the gentle puff of air was done. This shows that even in sleep they can associate the sound and movement in their environment.
To further confirm the results, an EEG was also done to the 24 infants and showed brain activity and changes evident of memory updating, evidence that learning took place. They learned of the response reflex to respond to the tone and the eyelid movement at the same time the certain music was played during the test.
This test can serve as a non-invasive option in detecting possible developmental disorders in infants who did not register any learning while conducting the tests. Although this test is not confirmatory, it can give an insight and future framework for future studies on this subject matter.