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Talking to Babies Provides Vital Aspects of Brain Development
Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Tenafly, NJ
Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Dr. Patricia Farrell
Published in
3 min read2 hours ago


Photo by Colin Maynard on Unsplash

Talking to a baby regularly from birth will help develop their brains and get them ready for academic achievement. Infants and toddlers who are spoken to less frequently display poorer language skills, according to studies. Young children benefit from the conversation by learning a language at a young age and developing knowledge of how the world functions.

According to research, infant-directed speech, commonly referred to as “motherese” or “parentese,” increases vocabulary and early language learning. Infants’ brains are stimulated to begin honing their linguistic skills via baby babble. Baby talk is such a common tool because newborns enjoy listening to one another more than they enjoy listening to adults. Communicating with infants is crucial for their cognitive development as well as for teaching them about language and their environment.

Caregivers prefer to speak to infants in a joyful, sing-song manner that they would never use with adults, regardless of language or culture. This sort of emotionally expressive speech is sometimes known as “infant-directed speech,” “baby talk,” or “motherese.” Scientists discovered that infants’ various reactions to this emotionally expressive speech are related to their social, linguistic, and cognitive capacities.

Combined, these results indicate that toddlers’ reactions to emotionally expressive speech differ; while some seem attracted to it, others do not. And, once again, it is significant because toddlers’ reactions to emotionally expressive speech seem to be related to their social, linguistic, and cognitive growth.

The researchers believe studies do support the hypothesis that an infant’s ability to pay attention and respond to speech aimed at them may be enhanced by a brain-based inclination toward emotionally expressive speech. As a result, an engaged caregiver-infant loop that supports the socioemotional development and learning of newborns may be encouraged. A diminished reaction to emotionally expressive speech would break the caregiver-infant feedback loop and thus explain some of the developmental abnormalities frequently observed in ASD children.

But babies aren’t waiting for their mothers to speak to them, either, because research has shown that at ten weeks of age inside the womb, the babies are listening. It has been suggested, too, that these pre-birth infants who live in bilingual households may be better at information processing. We know that learning a second language as adults is beneficial, and now we see its benefits even before birth.

Massive, intricate networks of brain cells and connections are developing as the baby’s brain grows, and repeated exposure to language and perhaps music strengthens some of these connections.

Undoubtedly, after years of study, we have discovered that talking to infants regularly has been shown to improve their cognitive and linguistic development. Babies that receive more linguistic stimulation grow up with larger vocabularies and higher IQ scores.

Having responsive, interactive conversations with babies and young children helps them learn and understand language. Also, the amount of speaking given to infants affects how well they learn to speak, grow cognitively, and behave in general. Therefore, families can encourage newborns’ cognitive and linguistic development through constant verbal stimulation and a language-rich environment.

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News Media Interview Contact
Name: Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D.
Title: Licensed Psychologist
Group: Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D., LLC
Dateline: Tenafly, NJ United States
Cell Phone: 201-417-1827
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