Published on 08/10/12 at 11:07:55 GMT by Redaksjonen
Morsmal.org has previously discussed findings from the Max Planck Society, which suggests that the bilingual infants cry differently depending on their mother tongue. But bilingual babies can do more than just cry, they are in fact able to hear the difference between unknown languages, according to a recent study from the Universitat Pompeu.
The research, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, examines the relationship between language and the different types of perception in bilingual children.
Previous research has shown that bilingualism has cognitive benefits in the control of behavior and focus of attention. Scientists also know that bilingual children can tell if a person speaks one of their native language or other, even when there is no sound, by looking at the mouth for visual signals.
But Nuria Sebastian-Galles from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and colleagues wanted to know about bilingual children can also do this with two unknown languages.
Galles examined 8-month-old infants, half of whom came from either Spanish or Catalan-speaking homes and the other half came from a Spanish-Catalan bilingual families.
The researchers examined whether children could distinguish between English and French using only visual cues. They found that the children could tell the difference between the two languages, while children who came from monolingual families could not. These findings suggest that children who are raised in bilingual environment are more sensitive to differences in visual signals related to the sounds of different languages.
About Nuria Sebastian-Galles Nuria Sebastian-Galles received her Ph.D. in experimental psychology at the University of Barcelona in 1986. After Post-researcher at the Max Plank Institute and LSCP-CNRS in Paris, she was appointed as Associate Professor at the Faculty of Psychology (University of Barcelona) in 1988, where she was appointed professor in 2002. Sebastian-Galles was a member of the advisory group of "Brain and Learning" initiative of the OECD 2002-2006. Since 2009 she has led SAP Research at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. She has written over 80 publications in international journals and is currently Associate Editor of Developmental Science.
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