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Patricia Kuhl Shows How a Baby's Brain Categorizes Complex Languages

 - Jan 14, 2012
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In this speech, Patricia Kuhl discusses early language and brain development in babies. She describes babies as geniuses when it comes to learning a new language. As she explains, babies are capable of easily discriminating languages apart from one another before the age of one, while adults lose the ability to do this after the age of 13 when they become language-bound listeners.

Patricia Kuhl describes a baby's brain as being enormously open to new knowledge and forms of learning. It is during the first six to eight months of a baby's life when he or she listens to surrounding sounds, noises and voices and gathers what Kuhl refers to as statistics. These sets of statistics enable babies to discriminate between different languages. Patricia Kuhl shares experiments and lab tests that demonstrate a baby's advanced ability to differentiate between languages such as English and Mandarin.