News U Can Use: “Talkative Parents Make Kids Smarter”

“Interesting new research suggests exposure to large amounts of adult speech may enhance a child’s cognitive skills. The major new study, led by scientists at the University of York, identified a link between kids who heard high amounts of adult speech and their nonverbal abilities such as reasoning, numeracy and shape awareness.

Investigators used a novel research methodology that included fitting tiny audio recorders into the clothing of pre-schoolers aged two to four. Subsequently, they recorded the experience of 107 children and their interactions with parents and other caregivers in the home environment over three days for up to 16 hours per day.

Parents were also asked to complete activities with their children involving drawing, copying and matching tasks designed to test their child’s cognitive skills.

Lead author of the study, Katrina d’Apice, a PhD student from the University of York’s Department of Education, explains, “Using the audio recorders allowed us to study real-life interactions between young children and their families in an unobtrusive way within the home environment rather than a lab setting.”

The study, “A Naturalistic Home Observational Approach to Children’s Language, Cognition, and Behavior,” appears in the journal, Developmental Psychology” 

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