advertisement
13 August 2010

Baby talk key in language acquisition

Experience, gender and personality appear to influence the "baby talk" parents use when interacting with their infants, say Japanese researchers.

0

Experience, gender and personality appear to influence the "baby talk" parents use when interacting with their infants, say Japanese researchers.

Baby talk is found across languages and cultures, but the brain mechanisms that underlie it are not known.

Reiko Mazuka, Yoshi-Taka Matsuda and colleagues at the Riken Brain Science Institute in Tokyo used functional MRI to assess brain activity in 35 first-time parents whose infants hadn't started to speak (preverbal) and compared them to 30 men and women without any parenting experience.

The study

The study also included 16 mothers with toddlers who spoke two-word utterances and 18 mothers with children in elementary school.

The participants' brain activity was monitored while they listened to recorded baby talk, which triggers brain activation patterns similar to those that occur when someone speaks baby talk, also called infant-directed speech (IDS).

The brain scans showed that mothers with preverbal infants had increased brain activity in areas of the brain that govern language. This heightened brain activity did not occur in any other group, including mothers whose children had started to speak, according to a Riken news release.

Among mothers with preverbal infants, those who were extroverts also had increased cortical activation in speech-related motor areas of the brain, the investigators found.

Clear distinction

The results show that there are clear distinctions in how people process and generate IDS. This is evidence that baby talk acts as a link for linguistic transfer from mother to infant and plays a crucial role in the early stages of infant language acquisition, the researchers concluded.

The findings were released online in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the journal NeuroImage. (August 2010)


(Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

Regular bedtimes best
Easier to read to pet

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X

More:

ChildNews
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

The debate continues »

Working out in the concrete jungle 7 top butt exercises for guys 10 things pole dancing can do for you

The running vs. walking debate

There are many different theories when it comes to the running vs. walking for health and weight loss.

Veganism a crime? »

Running the Comrades Marathon on a vegan diet Are vegans unnatural beasts? Can a vegan be really healthy?

Should it be a crime to raise a baby on vegan food?

After a number of cases of malnourishment in Italy, it may become a crime to feed children under 16 a vegan diet.