The Child Talk Study
Parents across the world use a special kind of speech when they speak to young children and babies: they speak slowly and they use high and exaggerated pitch. Some call this type of speaking “baby talk” or child-directed speech. Most babies show a natural preference for this kind of speech, and new evidence shows that it helps young children learn language. The goal of the child talk study is to understand what happens in young kids brains when they hear words presented in child-directed versus adult-directed speech. Young word-learning children will come to our kid-friendly lab and listen to words (like ‘ball’ and ‘book’) and nonwords (like ‘teg’ and ‘neem’) spoken in child- and adult-directed speech, while a hat of sensors records their brainwaves. Do young children exhibit a stronger neural response to words presented in child talk? Does this change as they develop and learn more words? The answers to these questions can help us to better understand how child-directed speech helps young typically developing children learn language.
This study has been completed. The data is being analyzed and results are being written for dissemination.