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How `gaze shifting` helps babies learn new languages

Washington : Determining the aspects of social interactions, researchers have now highlighted the concept of gaze shift that makes it easier for a child to grasp new languages.

University of Washington researchers have demonstrated for the first time that an early social behavior called gaze shifting is linked to infants’ ability to learn new language sounds.

According to the study, 10 months old babies, who are engaged in more gaze shifting, show a boost in a brain response that indicates language learning.

Co-author Patricia Kuhl said that their study provided evidence that infants’ social skills play a role in cracking the code of the new language and they have found that the degree to which infants visually track the new language is linked to brain’s measures of infant learning.

Gaze shifting, which is one of the earliest social skills that babies show, refers to a baby making eye contact and then looking at the same object that the other person was looking at.

Co-author Rechele Brooks said that these moments of shared visual attention develop as babies interact with their parents and they change the baby’s brain.

The results of the study show that the more gaze shifting the babies participate, the greater their brain responses to the language sounds.

Brooke added that their findings show that young babies’ social engagement contributes to their own language learning they’re not just passive listeners of language.

The study is published in the Journal Developmental Neuropsychology. (ANI)