Brain activity in babies as young as seven months show that they are preparing to begin to speak.
Researchers from the University of Washington found that areas of the brain responsible for planning the motor movements associated with speech were activated when 7- and 11-month old babies heard speech sounds.
“Most babies babble by 7 months, but don’t utter their first words until after their first birthdays,” said lead author Patricia Kuhl, who is the co-director of the UW’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences. “Finding activation in motor areas of the brain when infants are simply listening is significant, because it means the baby brain is engaged in trying to talk back right from the start and suggests that 7-month-olds’ brains are already trying to figure out how to make the right movements that will produce words.”
Read more Brain activity shows babies rehearsing speech months before first words