Show Details

Babies Listen to Babies

May 10, 2018

Babies prefer the sound of other babies to their own parents’ vocalizations.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Baby talk. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

(Baby “ba-ba-ba” sounds)

Babies just love the sound of other babies, according to science. In an experiment,  McGill University speech scientist Linda Polka and her team found th at 4 to 5-month-old infants pay more attention to the high-pitched babbling sounds made by other infants than to the vocalizations of their own parents.

LINDA POLKA (McGill University):

The babies chose to listen much longer to the infant sounds.

HIRSHON:

Some even smiled or moved their mouths as if to practice talking. Polka thinks this preference for baby sounds may be crucial to future speech development.

POLKA:

They need to pay attention to their own voice because that’s going to play a very imporant role in their learning to talk.

HIRSHON:

At a recent meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, she noted that this could also help explain why many adults talk to babies in a high-pitched voice. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard

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