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Babies May Be Smarter Than You Think
Date:2/15/2012

d in the news release. "Our study is different in looking at more generic words, words that refer to categories."

Bergelson added, "We're testing things that look different every time you see them. There's some variety in apples and noses, and 'nose' doesn't just mean your nose; it could mean anybody's nose. This is one of the things that makes word learning complicated: Words often refer to categories, not just individuals."

The study's authors said babies at 8 and 9 months performed no better than 6- and 7-month-old infants. They said no significant improvement was seen until the children reached about 14 months of age. They could not explain exactly why performance did not improve for so long.

"I think this study presents a great message to parents: You can talk to your babies and they're going to understand a bit of what you're saying," Swingley concluded. "They're not going to give us back witty repartee, but they understand some of it. And the more they know, the more they can build on what they know."

Their study was published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health provides more information on infant development.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: University of Pennsylvania, news release, Feb. 13, 2012


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