Babies rehearse for speech months before their first words
Washington: Babies' brains rehearse speech mechanics months before they utter their first words, a new study has found.
Infants can tell the difference between sounds of all languages until about 8 months of age when their brains start to focus only on the sounds they hear around them.
However, it's been unclear how this transition occurs.
The study by the University of Washington researchers in 7- and 11-month-old infants shows that speech sounds stimulate areas of the brain that coordinate and plan motor movements for speech.
The research suggests that baby brains start laying down the groundwork of how to form words long before they actually begin to speak, and this may affect the developmental transition.
"Most babies babble by 7 months, but don't utter their first words until after their first birthdays," said lead author Patricia Kuhl, who is the co-director of the UW's Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences.
"Finding activation in motor areas of the brain when infants are simply listening is significant, because it means the baby brain is engaged in trying to talk back right from the start and suggests that 7-month-olds' brains are already trying to figure out how to make the right movements that will produce words," said Kuhl.
Kuhl and her research team believe this practice at motor planning contributes to the transition when infants become more sensitive to their native language.
The results emphasise the importance of talking to kids during social interactions even if they aren't talking back yet.
"Infants' brains are preparing them to act on the world by practicing how to speak before they actually say a word," said Kuhl.
In the experiment, infants sat in a brain scanner that measures brain activation through a noninvasive technique called magnetoencephalography.
Nicknamed MEG, the brain scanner resembles an egg-shaped vintage hair dryer and is completely safe for infants.
The 57 babies each listened to a series of native and foreign language syllables such as "da" and "ta" as researchers recorded brain responses. They listened to sounds from English and Spanish.
Researchers observed brain activity in an auditory area of the brain called the superior temporal gyrus, as well as in Broca's area and the cerebellum, cortical regions responsible for planning the motor movements required for producing speech.
This pattern of brain activation occurred for sounds in the 7-month-olds' native language (English) as well as in a non-native language (Spanish), showing that at this early age infants are responding to all speech sounds, whether or not they have heard the sounds before.
In the older infants, brain activation was different.
The study was published in the journal PNAS.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Megastar Amitabh Bachchan slapped with Rs 1 crore notice
- Salman Khan accident files burnt in Mantralaya fire
- Maggi likely to face ban in India!
- Street food in Delhi contains high levels of faecal matter
- Meet 92-year-old Phyllis Sues who dances toTango
- TERI panel finds RK Pachauri guilty in sexual harassment case
- Rajasthan: High Court raps Chief Secy, DGP for failing to end Gujjar agitation
- Watch: ISIS prisoner digging his own grave
- 50 percent refund on Tatkal ticket cancellation
- Priyanka, Ranveer talk about their film 'Dil Dhadakne Do'
- Erstwhile Mysuru kingdom gets new king
- Former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi meets PM Modi
- UP: Govt to distribute free sanitary napkins to all girls in school
- DNA: Pentagon report says Beijing accelerates land reclamation in South China Sea
- Delhi HC turns down plea challenging LG Jung's authority
- Rahul Gandhi takes another dig at NDA govt, says Manmohan gave lessons on economy to PM Modi
- Delhi HC backs LG, turns down plea challenging Jung's authority
- Log on to cbseresults.nic.in, cbse.nic.in at 2 pm for Class 10th Result 2015
- WB Class 12 (HS) Result 2015 declared on wbresults.nic.in, wbchse.nic.in
- WBCHSE (wbchse.nic.in & wbresults.nic.in): West Bengal Class 12th Result to be declared on May 29
- No radioactive leak at IGI airport, say AERB and Delhi govt
- CBSE (cbseresults.nic.in, cbse.nic.in) Class 10th (X Board) Result 2015 declared
- Maggi noodles likely to face ban in India, FSSAI orders sample examination
- Heatwave toll in Andhra Pradesh reaches 1,490
- Log on to wbresults.nic.in, wbchse.nic.in for WB Class 12 (HS) Result 2015 WBCHSE
- WBCHSE (wbchse.nic.in & wbresults.nic.in): West Bengal Class 12th Result 2015 to be announced shortly
- CBSE 10th Result 2015: CBSE (cbse.ac.in & cbseresults.ac.in) Class 10 (X Board) Result shortly
- Cbseresults.nic.in working now, check your CBSE Class 10 Board Results 2015
- cbse.nic.in Board Results 2015: CBSE Class 10 Results declared on cbseresults.nic.in
- Watch: Young Sikh boy takes on a bully outside UK school