A French study found that 3-month-old babies respond to spoken sentences
Used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) visualize infants' reactions to speech.
Measured brain activity as they spoke "sense" and "nonsense" to the 2- and 3-month-olds.
The “sense” consisted of short French sentences; the nonsense of the same sentences, recorded and played back in reverse.
Earlier studies found infants just 4 days old could distinguish between their native language and a foreign language.
The Language Spurt
At about 18 months there is a sudden dramatic increase in word use
Vocabulary increases to about 100 words and quickly expands
This change, called the naming explosion or vocabulary spurt, is a key stage in development
Traditionally explained as the result of progressions in conceptual development
Woodward et al at the University of Chicago investigated this phenomenon
Showed that children comprehend words equally well at 13 months, when they use just five to ten words
They exposed 13- and 18-month-old infants to unfamiliar objects like a big plastic paper clip and a plastic strainer
Called one of them by a made-up name, toma.
One person repeated the word nine times in different situations
Another person, unaware which object was the toma tested the child's comprehension through a play activity
Presented two objects on a tray and asked the child to 'put the toma in the box.‘
Found little difference in rates of word learning and retention between the two groups of infants .
Babies can also categorize words
A study from Johns Hopkins:
"New findings suggest that infants as young as 9 months use words to begin shaping their view of the world, arranging objects into mental categories, in a process previously associated more with preschoolers than with mere babes."
Development of Reasoning Skills
Babies know more than we believe
Children begin to develop reasoning skills as young as seven months of age.
Study conducted at the University of Chicago on seven-month-old babies to assess their reasoning skills
Used visual habituation to determine infant understanding of the actions of inanimate objects.
Measured their attention span to different events.
The Research Study
The longer a baby watches, the more likely he is trying to understand something unexpected
The first test - babies watch a videotape of an object that moves behind a screen blocking the babies' view of the action.
Another object moves off the screen after the first object enters.
The second test - the screen is removed to show the two objects colliding or not colliding before the second object moves.
Babies watch longer when objects don’t collide
Researchers concluded that they are surprised because it violates a principle they have learned: for objects to cause other objects to move, they must touch each other.
If babies are surprised when humans move without touching, that would indicate that they expect humans and objects to react to each other in the same way.
The findings support the conclusion that by seven months, infants differentiate between people and objects in their reasoning about simple causal sequences