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Rutgers Study Says Training Might Enable Babies To Learn To Speak Earlier In Life

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (CBS) – Can babies be taught to speak earlier in life?

Maybe, according to new research from Rutgers University.

The study, which was conducted by April Benasich and published in the Oct. 1 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, reveals that four-month-old babies can be trained to recognize "non-language" sounds, thus improving their ability to learn language at a faster pace.

It comes down to the brain's mapping system, which is critical to developing language. Researchers say the training could accelerate the development of such maps.

Benasich says the babies were provided with a colorful video clip when they responded to the changes in sound pattern. Brain scans later in the babies' lives showed those who had been taught to recognize and pay attention to sounds at a younger age processed sound patterns more efficiently at seven months than those who had received no training.

The researchers say they will be following the infants at least until they're 18 months old to see if the training truly has lasting effects. If so, Benasich says parents may be able to mimic the training at home by using a toy-like device that's currently under development.

For more on the study, click here.

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