How infants respond to their mother’s touches and smiles influences their development in a manner much like what young birds experience when learning to sing, according to a research project involving the Department of Psychology at Indiana University Bloomington and the Biological Foundations of Behavior program at Franklin and Marshall College.
An article on the research, titled "Social interaction shapes babbling: Testing parallels between birdsong and speech," will be published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The Web site for the journal is http://www.pnas.org/misc/highlights.shtml. The academy’s Web site is http://www4.nationalacademies.org/nas/nashome.nsf.
"The main point of our research is how the reaction of the babies to their mother’s touches and smiles changes how they talk, and this corresponds to what birds do when learning to sing," said Meredith West, a professor of psychology and biology at IU. She collaborated on the article with Andrew King, a senior scientist at IU, and Michael Goldstein, an assistant professor of psychology at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa.
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