A new study performed by the Researchers at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) at the University of Washington have revealed that Infant’s social skills play a key role in helping them learn a foreign language.
The researchers proved that early social behaviour called gaze shifting show a boost in a brain response that indicates language learning in kids. For the study, babies from English speaking households attended foreign language tutoring sessions. Over four weeks, the 17 infants interacted with a tutor during 12 sessions of 25 minutes each.
The tutors read books and talked and played with toys while speaking in Spanish. The more gaze shifting the babies participated in during their tutoring sessions, the greater their brain responses were to the Spanish language sounds.
"Our findings show that young babies social engagement contributes to their own language learning - they're not just passive listeners of language," said co-author Rechele Brooks, assistant professor at I-LABS.
The study was published in the journal Developmental Neuropsychology.