Babies and Intelligence: The Latest Findings
Researchers at the, a federal agency whose goal is to identify which experiences can influence healthy development, note that babies are strongly influenced by their environment. A baby will smile if her mother does something the baby likes. A baby learns to get the best care possible by smiling to please her mother or other caregiver. This is how babies learn to connect and communicate with other people.
Many experts say the first years of a child’s life are important for all later development. This is supported by a study which shows how mothers can strongly influence social development and language skills in their children.
The study involved more than one thousand two hundred mothers and children. Researchers studied the children from the age of one month to three years and observed the mothers playing with their children four times during this period.
The researchers attempted to measure the sensitivity of the mothers. The women were considered sensitive if they supported their children’s activities and did not interfere unnecessarily. They tested the children for thinking and language development when they were three years old. The researchers also observed the women for evidence of depression.
These children also were less cooperative and had more problems dealing with other people. The researchers noted that the sensitivity of the mothers was important to the general health of their children. Children did better when their mothers were caring, even when the women suffered from depression.
The boys and girls had an average age of sixteen at the time of the study. They were asked to complete intelligence and motor skill tests in their homes and their test results were compared with those of other children their age.
Experts say the first three years of a child's life is the most intensive period of language and speech development. This is the time when the brain is developing. Language and communication skills are believed to develop best in an environment that is rich with sounds and sights. Also, the child should repeatedly hear the speech and language of other people.
The first signs of communication happen during the first few days of life when a baby learns that crying will bring food and attention. Research shows that most children recognize the general sounds of their native language by six months of age. At that time, a baby also usually begins to make sounds. These sounds become a kind of nonsense speech over time.
A long-term American study shows the effect of early education on future learning abilities. The study followed more than one thousand three hundred children from birth through the ages of fifteen. It found that children who received higher quality care before starting school had better language skills by those ages than children who had lower quality care.
The children included in the study were born around nineteen ninety-one in ten areas of the country. Researchers examined the quality and amount of child care the children received until they were four and one-half years old. Child care included any care provided by people other than the child’s mother that lasted at least ten hours a week. This included any care given by fathers or other family members.
The researchers examined whether the developmental qualities that had been observed in young children were still present a few years later. They found that the older children who had received higher quality child care continued to show better ability in tests of language skills.
New studies about how intelligence develops are published each year. Recently, Science News magazine reported findings from one such study. The report described research that suggests babies develop language skills from musical and rhythmic exchanges with their mothers. An interactive Itsy Bitsy Spider” is an example of the kind of emotional exchange that helps babies to learn and grow emotionally and socially. Some researchers believe such songs may also prepare babies to learn the rules and practices of their culture.like “