It seems that babies have better ability to pick up languages, distinguish faces from foreign cultures and recognize unfamiliar musical rhythms far more readily than adults can.
The researchers were monitoring how long the babies stared at a cartoon; they paired the same cartoon with two different versions of a song -- one version maintained the basic rhythm of the original song while the other disrupted it. If the infants showed greater interest in one of the two versions, it's because they detected a difference between the two.
They said that infant brains are more flexible in processing different word sounds and speech patterns from a variety of speakers, and they are also more flexible than adults in categorizing different types of musical structures. Unfortunately or not, it isn't long before they settle on those that are most common and meaningful to their cultures.
Adults’ brains are, on the other hand, much more stable making it difficult to learn a foreign language, distinguish foreign faces and perceive rhythmic patterns in music foreign to their cultures.