I-LABS Research Featured in Kristof and WuDunn's 'A Path Appears'

The best-selling authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn cited research from the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences in their latest book.

The book, "A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity," covers social problems and profiles people and programs that are helping to improve lives around the globe.

"Nobody clarifies the social challenges of our time, or the moral imperative to help meet them, better than Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn," said President Bill Clinton, in a quote on the book's website.

I-LABS research helped inform a chapter on early learning. Kristof visited I-LABS in 2013, and in the book, he and WuDunn refer to research at "I-LABS, a Seattle brain laboratory." They mention the Institute's MEG brain scanner – "the only one in the world set up for infants."

The co-authors then make the point that social interactions can boost early learning and help babies learn language. They allude to these I-LABS studies:
- Talking in "parentese" in one-on-one situations to babies leads to more words when they are age 2.
- 9-month-old babies in English-speaking households learned the sounds of a second language (Mandarin) better from a live instructor than from a DVD recording of a tutor.
- Before they begin to speak, baby brains rehearse the mechanics of language.

Kristof and WuDunn emphasize the importance of parents talking to babies as "some of the earliest interventions that improve long-term outcomes and help chip away at the cycle of poverty."

They go on to say that talking to babies and young children, including by reading to them, is an effective way to "help children continue through pre-kindergarten to build literacy and verbal skills."

“I am thrilled to see early learning and neuroscience enter the larger discussion of child development worldwide," said Sarah Roseberry Lytle, director of outreach at I-LABS. "This is the ultimate goal of the research we do – to make a broader impact in society at large.”