[percy-l] Fw: More pertinent articles

Karey L. Perkins karey at charter.net
Sat Dec 14 15:23:11 EST 2002

Here are some more articles regarding perception and language and it's
acquisition that Ken sent -- for those of you who are interested in the


----- Original Message -----
From: kdenney at mindspring.com
To: Karey L. Perkins
Sent: Friday, December 13, 2002 9:07 AM
Subject: More pertinent articles

Here are some more pertinent articles than the ones I have heretofore cited:



(Don't operate heavy machinery while reading this one:)

And finally:

Young Baby Brain Already Primed to Learn Language
Thu Dec 5, 5:31 PM ET .
By Alison McCook

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - New research shows that babies' brains are
to learn language long before they utter or understand their first words.

Dr. Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz of the Center National de la Recherche
Scientifique in Paris and her colleagues found that while 3-month-old babies
are read to in their native language, they show brain activity in some of
regions of the adult brain that specialize in language. Much of that
disappears when sentences are read to the babies backwards, the authors
in the December 6th issue of the journal Science.

These findings indicate that babies' brains are gearing up to learn and
understand language at a very young age, Dehaene-Lambertz told Reuters

"Babies are doing things very early," she said.

Dehaene-Lambertz and her colleagues obtained their findings from imaging
of 3-month-old babies' brains as they listened to sentences read in their
language, and as the speech was pronounced backwards. Dehaene-Lambertz
explained to Reuters Health that backward speech has many similarities to
forward speech, but lacks certain overall cues babies likely use to
whether the words are in their own language or not, such as dips at the end
sentences and other qualities.

The authors found that babies showed more activity in brain regions
with speech in adults when hearing words in their own language than when the
words were read backwards.

In an interview with Reuters Health, Dehaene-Lambertz explained that one of
the baby brain regions active during speech is the left angular gyrus,
in adults, is more active when people listen to words than to non-words. The
other region active in baby brains is the right prefrontal region, an area
that shows more activity in adults when they hear words that had been said
them moments before, but not when listening to other words.

A long-standing debate exists in the field of childhood language
Dehaene-Lambertz noted. Some experts argue that babies are born already
to process language, while others believe that babies are born as a blank
slate, and all of the techniques used by the brain to understand language
learned by experience, she explained.

While the current study does not answer that question, Dehaene-Lambertz said
that she believed no research study ever would--for who can state, for
certain, when babies begin to have experience with language, when they can
hear inside the womb. However, she noted that at 3 months, baby brains are
already quite specialized, indicating that if experience is at work, it had
work fast.

"If they have learned, they have learned very fast," she said.

She added that while many brain regions focus on language, the brain is
adaptable; so even if babies experience brain damage in one of the areas
normally used to process language, it can be overcome. "Everything is
plastic," Dehaene-Lambertz said..

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