It can be easy to slip into a routine of making funny faces and cooing at newborn babies, but new research indicates that we’re not giving them enough credit and that they absorb more than we previously though.
Researchers at the University of Manchester recently published a study which found that at just three days old, babies have the ability to pick out individual words in a stream of sounds, even if they don’t understand the meaning.
The team used a painless technique called Near-Infrared Spectroscopy, which allows them to see which parts of the brain are active. By monitoring this while playing audio clips to the babies, they discovered that they’re able to identify individual words even at this young age.
Dr Alissa Ferry, from the higher education institution, commented: “We think this study highlights how sentient newborn babies really are and how much information they are absorbing. That’s quite important for new parents.”
Dr Ana Flo, from the Neurospin Centre in France, which was also involved in the research, explained that the aim of the study is to try and understand how infants first start to make sense of language.
“We have identified two important tools that we are almost certainly born with, that gives them the ability to do this,” she stated.
Parents may also want to consider the findings of recent US study, which found that children’s language learning improved when their parents spoke ‘parentese’ to them.
The main hallmarks of parentese are speaking more slowly, with a higher pitch and exaggerated intonation as well as acoustically exaggerated vowels, WTOP explained.
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