Babies' Brains Gear Up to Speak Way Before First Word

Even if your baby isn't speaking yet, her brain is developing speech skills—and you're helping the process along whenever you talk around her. It turns out that babies age 7- to 12-months have stimulation in the brain whenever other people in the room are talking, according to a new study published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences. The infants were monitored using a brain scanning technique.

"Hearing us talk exercises the action areas of infants' brains, going beyond what we thought happens when we talk to them. Infants' brains are preparing them to act on the world by practicing how to speak before they actually say a word," Patricia Kuhl, author of the study and co-director of the Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, said in a university news release.

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