Tag Archives: infants

Brain Structure of Infants Predicts Language Skills at 1 Year

Using a brain-imaging technique that examines the entire infant brain, researchers have found that the anatomy of certain brain areas – the hippocampus and cerebellum – can predict children’s language abilities at 1 year of age.

The University of Washington study is the first to associate these brain structures with future language skills. The results are published in the January issue of the journal Brain and Language.

“The brain of the baby holds an infinite number of secrets just waiting to be uncovered, and these discoveries will show us why infants learn languages like sponges, far surpassing our skills as adults,” said co-author Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the UW’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. (more…)

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Very Few Low-Income Moms Meet Breastfeeding Recommendations

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Less than 2 percent of low-income mothers met breastfeeding recommendations in a recent study – a drastic decline compared with a more affluent population – and a lack of support and available resources appears to play a key role.

The research findings out of Michigan State University suggest in addition to raising overall awareness of breastfeeding, especially among women of lower socioeconomic status, physicians can play a role in removing barriers that prevent new mothers from breastfeeding. (more…)

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Babies Are Born With “Intuitive Physics” Knowledge, Says MU Researcher

*Numerous infant studies indicate environmental knowledge is present soon after birth*

COLUMBIA, Mo. – While it may appear that infants are helpless creatures that only blink, eat, cry and sleep, one University of Missouri researcher says that studies indicate infant brains come equipped with knowledge of “intuitive physics.”

“In the MU Developmental Cognition Lab, we study infant knowledge of the world by measuring a child’s gaze when presented with different scenarios,” said Kristy vanMarle, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences in the College of Arts and Science. “We believe that infants are born with expectations about the objects around them, even though that knowledge is a skill that’s never been taught. As the child develops, this knowledge is refined and eventually leads to the abilities we use as adults.” (more…)

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Babies Understand Thought Process of Others at Ten Months Old, MU Research Finds

COLUMBIA, Mo. – New research from the University of Missouri indicates that at 10 months, babies start to understand another person’s thought process, providing new insights on how humans acquire knowledge and how communication develops.

“Understanding other people is a key factor in successful communication, and humans start to understand this at a very young age,” said Yuyan Luo, associate professor of developmental psychology in the MU College of Arts and Science. “Our study indicates that infants, even before they can verbally communicate, can understand the thought processes of other people – even if the thoughts diverge from what the infants know as truth, a term psychologists call false belief.” (more…)

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People Aren’t Born Afraid of Spiders and Snakes: Fear Is Quickly Learned During Infancy

There’s a reason why Hollywood makes movies like Arachnophobia and Snakes on a Plane: Most people are afraid of spiders and snakes. A new paper published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reviews research with infants and toddlers and finds that we aren’t born afraid of spiders and snakes, but we can learn these fears very quickly. 

One theory about why we fear spiders and snakes is because so many are poisonous; natural selection may have favored people who stayed away from these dangerous critters. Indeed, several studies have found that it’s easier for both humans and monkeys to learn to fear evolutionarily threatening things than non-threatening things. (more…)

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MU Researcher Studies How Infants Compare Quantities

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Parents are often amazed at how fast their child grows and develops. New research at the University of Missouri has determined that the ability to quantify – even things that are hard to quantify, such as liquid – may develop much sooner than most parents realize. 

University of Missouri researcher Kristy vanMarle, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences in the College of Arts and Science, has determined that contrary to what previous studies have shown, infants are able to quantify non-cohesive substances – like sand, water, or even Cheerios – as early as 10 months. As long as the difference between the two substances is large enough, vanMarle has found that infants will choose the larger amount, especially when it comes to food. (more…)

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