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Medical Daily - Language may help infants learn about people's intentions

Published: 23 Jul 2012

Research suggests infants may be able to perceive that speech can communicate unobservable objects that are essential for social interactions.

Research suggests infants may be able to perceive that speech can communicate unobservable objects that are essential for social interactions.

In a study conducted by scholars from New York University and McGill University, one-year old infants were monitored to determine whether or not they would be able to identify that speech can communicate both congruent (observable) and incongruent (unobservable) items. Observable items include objects and people, whereas unobservable items relate to social interactions and/or one's intentions.

Study author Athena Vouloumanos, assistant professor at NYU, and co-authors Kristine Onishi, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Canada's McGill University, and Amanda Pogue, a graduate student at the University of Waterloo, observed infants as they had other adults acted out short scenes.

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