Babies Learn Language by Reading Lips
A new research study surprises developmental scientists
Posted by The Baby News
Developmental scientists have long known that babies learn to speak by listening intently to the sounds of people speaking, and by listening to patterns of vowel and consonant sounds , they gradually learn to make sense, and then to copy what they've heard.
Now, researchers at Florida Atlantic University have discovered that in the very early stages of language development, babies appear to learn to speak by watching your lips.
By staring at your mouth carefully, your baby matches the shape of your lips with the sound coming out of it and learns to make those sounds by copying. (Could that be one reason why watching TV is no match for mommy face time when it comes to first words?)
By 12 months or so - around the time of a child's first word - babies' gazes shift back to your eyes.
Neuroscientists are intrigued by this new finding, and they believe it could help them find ways to work with babies who are experiencing developmental delays in the language department.
Lip-reading starts around 6 months, when baby brains become capable of controlling attention (prior to that, they just look at wherever the noise it coming from).
Now, the Florida Atlantic researchers now plan to do further studies and figure out if babies whose gaze shiftsback to the eyes earlier are more advanced language learners, and whether there's any difference in attention to eyes or lips among children on the autism spectrum. Stay tuned.
Have you noticed your baby reading your lips?
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