Language May Help Infants Learn About People’s Intentions

Language May Help Infants Learn About People’s Intentions

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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 and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 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.

According to the researchers, the results suggest infants have ways of communicating that was not previously known. They suggest that if infants can understand that speech can convey information about incongruent things, then they [infants] can use this tool to obtain insight into other people helping them develop into competent adults.

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