Babies learn some early words by touch

A caregiver’s tactile hints help 4-month-olds recognize names for body parts

By Bruce Bower, 15:14 PM April 28, 2014

Awash in streams of adult chatter, babies fish out and recognize some of their first words thanks to well-timed touches from their caregivers, a new study suggests.

An experimenter’s synchronized taps on an elbow or knee enabled 4-month-olds to notice nonsense words embedded in spoken strings of syllables, say psycholinguist Amanda Seidl of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., and her colleagues. Timed touches from parents and other adults as they say the names of body parts may explain ...

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