Hummus. Chewbacca. Tofu. Belly button.
These are just a few of the thousands of words scientists at Duke painstakingly decoded from over 2,000 hours of infants’ daily lives. They recently used these data to determine if the amount of language kids hear might explain why girls have bigger vocabularies early in life than boys.
Instead, Shannon Dailey, Ph.D., a Duke University postdoctoral scholar and lead author of the new study, found that rather than caregivers talking more to their young daughters, they appear to talk more to young children who themselves are already talking, regardless of their gender. This offers an important insight for language development.
“This study provides evidence that children actively influence their own language environments as they grow,” Dailey said.
The new findings from Dailey come from her time as a graduate student in the lab of co-author and Duke psychology & neuroscience professor Elika Bergelson, Ph.D.
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