Understanding Psychology

Chapter 3: Infancy and Childhood

Student Web Activites

"Watch That Language"

Scientists have tried for some time to teach human language to computers, but they have found this to be a complex and difficult task. Learning a new language is equally difficult for adults. How then do babies learn to speak? While researchers are still puzzling over why children's vocabulary and use of language take off at about 18 months, they are learning more each day about an infant's ability to learn language. Browse the Web sites below to see what studies have been done on infants and language use.

Web sites
Read the news release from Johns Hopkins University about a study on long-term memory in infants for learning word sounds.

Infants are listening into our conversations and trying to learn words well before they can say them. Read about a study conducted on what babies are retrieving from our everyday language.

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Imagine you are an experimental psychologist and have heard about these studies. You now want to take the results of these studies further and find out more about infants and language development. Write a research proposal in which you outline areas of study that expand on the existing research. You can either continue with the work already done or expand into another area. Make sure you outline all elements of your future research in your proposal.

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