About Careers Internship MedBlog Contact us

Learning Benefits Come Later With Naming People and Objects in First Year of Life

by Himabindu Venkatakrishnan on December 18, 2014 at 9:57 AM
 Learning Benefits Come Later With Naming People and Objects in First Year of Life

Talking to babies, specially naming things in their world, can help them make connections between what they see and hear. These learning benefits can be seen as much as five years later. Developmental psychologist Lisa Scott and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst reported this in a follow-up to her earlier studies of learning in infancy.

"Learning in infancy between the ages of six to nine months lays a foundation for learning later in childhood," Scott says. "Infants learn labels for people and things at a very early age. Labeling helps them recognize people and objects individually and helps them decide how detailed their understanding of the object or face needs to be."


Details of Scott's research, conducted with UMass Amherst psychological and brain science doctoral students Hillary Hadley and Charisse Pickron, appears in a recent online edition of the journal Developmental Science.

Scott's own earlier experiments as well as work by others shows that before they are six months old, babies can easily tell faces apart within familiar (e.g., human faces) and unfamiliar (e.g, monkey faces) groups. But by nine months, they are no longer as good at distinguishing faces outside their own species compared to faces from their own species.

This decline in recognizing unfamiliar individuals is called "perceptual narrowing" and is driven by the infants' experience interacting with some groups more than others and learning the names of individuals in some groups more than others during the six- to nine-month window, the neuroscience researchers say.

In the original experiment three years ago, Scott gave parents picture books to read to their infants in this age range. The books had photos of either different monkey faces or different kinds of strollers. For one group the parents spoke unique names, such as Boris or Fiona, and for the other group the same pictures were all labeled the same, just monkey or stroller.

Scott and colleagues measured how long the babies looked at the images, and their neural responses before and after training. Results for both looking and neural responses suggested that training with individual-level labels led the babies to learn in a way that would allow them to better tell the difference between examples of monkeys or strollers in the future.

However, one unanswered question was whether the learning seen during the six- to nine-month window would be retained into childhood. To answer this, Scott and her team conducted the follow-up study reported this month. They examined response time on a picture-matching task as well as brain responses in the children, now four and five years old, who participated in the earlier training study. The researchers also examined response in a control group of children who did not participate in the training study.

As Scott explains, she and colleagues predicted that children trained with individual-level, unique labels would show lasting behavioral and neural changes in response to early training experience during infancy. But it wasn't clear whether such changes would be specific to the trained images, that is, stimulus-specific, or related to a more general ability.

They found that children trained with individual-level labels showed both behavioral and neural advantages for human faces and not for the trained images.

"These children were faster to match human faces and they exhibited more adult-like neural responses to human faces compared to children who received experience with category labels and children with no book experience," they say.

This suggests that training within individual-level labels in infancy leads to long lasting learning effects that generalize from the trained images to the more commonly experienced category of human faces. "Even brief experiences can be important for infants, as they are actively building skills that they can use in a variety of contexts later in life," the authors note.

Source: Eurekalert
Font : A-A+



Latest Child Health News

Do Adverse Drug Reactions Cause Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Side-effects of valproate drug taken during pregnancy, enhance the expression of Rnf146 gene, causing autism spectrum disorder in fetus.
Amblyopia or Poor Vision in Kids - Does Digital Vision Training Help?
Children with amblyopia or lazy eye who underwent digital vision training, showed no appreciable improvement in their eyesight.
Childhood Malnutrition Linked to Stunted Growth and Mortality Risk
In 2022, over 20% of children worldwide lacked adequate calories for growth, with 45+ million showing wasting (underweight for height).
Pneumococcal Vaccines Reduce Severe Infections in Kids With Sickle Cell Disease
After PCV7 licensure, pneumococcal infection rates in children aged 5+ with sickle cell disease significantly decreased.
Breast Milk Proteins to Boost Baby's Gut Health
Breast milk concentration of certain key proteins indicates abundance of healthy bacteria in babies' guts.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close
Greetings! How can I assist you?MediBot

Learning Benefits Come Later With Naming People and Objects in First Year of Life Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests