Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Minds, Brains, and Early Learning: How Infants Crack the Speech Code"

by Dr. Patricia Kuhl

Babies are born with neurons, but not connections.
6 months is really a key time in baby brain dvelopment.
At age 3, children have 3 times the amount of synapses than any other age.
At age 14, the neurons have been pruned to strengthen certain connections.
The brain does have critical learning periods where it needs the right information at the right time.

See Evolution of Language
Babies hear distinction in all sounds.  They are citizens of the world.  From 6 months to 1 year, before the baby produces these sounds, the brain is sorting these sounds out.  Mother-ease, the exaggerated "baby talk" we use when talking to babies is brain food.

Children with autism prefer non-speech sounds to the same frequency, human vocalizations/speech.

Learning opportunities in the first five years are critical for children of all social economic status.  Lower SES environments, however, tend to use less complex, less thought-provoking language, and more "do" and "don't" commands.

See NeuroReport journal.

MEG machines show that TV engagement does not equal learning.
This begs the question ... What is social learning turning on in the brain?
What is the social brain?  We know that cognitive aging is slowed by exercise and social interaction.  Language is a social affair

See the Department of Early Learning

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