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Mothers orchestrate infant attention to teach new words, study concludes

Date:
July 10, 2014
Source:
Ithaca College
Summary:
Gestures mothers use in teaching their infants new words are vital for infant word learning. By measuring the child's pupil diameter, researchers noted that the gesture also results in enhanced arousal and better attention just at the time the infant views the object and hears the word for it.

Using eye tracking technology, researchers at Ithaca College and UCLA and have found that gestures mothers use in teaching their infants new words are vital for infant word learning. The findings were presented in Berlin, Germany, at the biennial conference sponsored by the International Society on Infant Studies (ISIS).

Nancy Rader, professor of psychology at Ithaca College, and Patricia Zukow-Goldring, research scholar at UCLA, report that mothers' gestures direct infant attention in such a way that infants look directly at the relevant object as the word for it is introduced. They found by measuring the child's pupil diameter that the gesture also results in enhanced arousal and better attention just at the time the infant views the object and hears the word for it.

The result? Babies 9 to 15 months of age learn a new word significantly better when the gesture is used than without it.


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The above story is based on materials provided by Ithaca College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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Ithaca College. "Mothers orchestrate infant attention to teach new words, study concludes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140710111521.htm>.
Ithaca College. (2014, July 10). Mothers orchestrate infant attention to teach new words, study concludes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140710111521.htm
Ithaca College. "Mothers orchestrate infant attention to teach new words, study concludes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140710111521.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

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