Under the Cortex: Parents Fine-Tune Their Speech to Children’s Vocabulary Knowledge

Young children learn language at a pace far faster than teenagers or adults. One explanation for this learning advantage comes not from differences between children and adults, but from the differences in the way that people talk to children and adults.

Researchers have developed a method to experimentally evaluate how parents use what they know about their children’s language when they talk to them. They found that parents have extremely precise models of their children’s language knowledge and use these models to tune the language they use when speaking to them. Charles Blue speaks with the study’s author, Daniel Yurovsky with Carnegie Mellon University. The results are published in Psychological Science.


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