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Born to Learn: Brain Science and Early Learning
In a documentary film, I-LABS co-directors Patricia Kuhl and Andrew Meltzoff describe the latest baby brain science, share insights on how babies learn best, and give sneak peeks of new research studies at the Institute. Filmed in part on location at I-LABS.
UW Brain-Wave Study: Social Babies Get More Out of Spanish Lessons
Rechele Brooks of I-LABS talks about how babies who learned the sounds of a foreign language best were the ones who were better at looking back and forth between Spanish-speaking tutors and the toys the tutors described.
Babies’ Brains Show that Social Skills Linked to Second Language Learning
The National Science Foundation featured I-LABS research in its top story on Science360, a news site for "breaking science news that shapes your world."
How You Talk to Your Baby Now Can Impact His or Her Social Skills Later
Two research studies reveal how social interactions help babies learn language. Patricia Kuhl, co-director of I-LABS, is quoted about how infants' own social skills play a role in their learning.
Mixed Expat Families Debate: Which Language to Speak at Home?
One of the most important—and debated—decisions among mixed expat families is which language to speak at home. I-LABS' Naja Ferjan Ramirez, who is raising trilingual children, talks about some of the science behind language development.
'Don't Wake the Baby' Experiment Gives New Perspective on Toddlers’ Social Skills
New work by Andrew Meltzoff and Rechele Brooks shows that young children understand how the sounds they make influence someone else, an important step toward appreciating that different people have different perspectives on the world.
The Many Ways Baby Talk Gives Infant Brains a Boost
Studies by I-LABS researchers are highlighted in a feature about how infant-directed speech (“parentese”) is much more than child's play—it's an important learning tool.
Why Brain-to-Brain Communication Is No Longer Unthinkable
Andrea Stocco is quoted in a feature about how brain-computer interfaces could dramatically change how to treat dementia, stroke and spinal cord injuries.
UW Expert Wins Prestigious Neuroscience Award
Patricia Kuhl's research into the social foundations of language learning has earned her one of the top awards in her field.
How to Interest More Girls in Computer Science and Engineering? Shift the Stereotypes
Women have long been underrepresented among undergraduates in computer science and engineering. A new study by researchers including I-LABS' Andrew Meltzoff and Allison Master identifies inaccurate stereotypes as a main culprit for that disparity.
More media coverage of I-LABS research on computer science stereotypes »
Study: Here's How to Beat the Stereotypes that Keep Women Out of Computer Science
For computer science to grow, its most persistent stereotype has to fade. That's the takeaway from the work of a group of UW researchers. Andrew Meltzoff, co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, is quoted.
The Growth of Language/Social Skills May Start with Parents' Gaze
Rechele Brooks and Andrew Meltzoff, of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, are beginning to connect the dots between gaze-following at 10 months of age and skills that emerge later such as language and the ability to see the world from someone else’s perspective.
Read more about this research study »
Early Learning Benefits
A letter to the editor argues that "State legislators should be trying to figure out how to bring 'basic education' for Washington into the 21st century, based on early learning research" from UW's Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences.
The Talking Cure
The poorer parents are, the less they talk with their children. The mayor of Providence is trying to close the "word gap." Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, is quoted.
The First Year
A baby’s brain needs love to develop. What happens in the first year is profound. Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, explains why the baby's brain holds the key to understanding what it means to be human.
Don't miss National Geographic's video featuring Kuhl, "How Does a Baby's Brain Work?" »
Early childhood development tips
Scientists have learned much about the preschool brain over the past decade, but unless they read medical journals, most parents and caregivers have yet to hear about those discoveries. I-LABS is changing that, in part through a series of free online modules that teach everything from early interactions to understanding emotions. Sarah Roseberry Lytle, I-LABS director of outreach, is interviewed.
More coverage of I-LABS Outreach Modules »
Top 100 stories of 2014: From the mouths of babes
How does a babbling baby become a talking tyke? Researchers led by Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, have found part of the answer. Toward the end of the first year of life, they discovered, two brain areas begin coordinating to help babies figure out speech.
Read more about this discovery »
Bilingualism: The best workout for your brain
Knowing a second language helps other aspects of cognitive function, and I-LABS co-directors Patricia Kuhl and Andrew Meltzoff talk about research showing brain benefits of bilingualism. This story, published in a Spanish newspaper, coincided with a trip by Kuhl and Meltzoff to see early learning in action in Spain, meet with Spanish officials and give invited lectures.
Read more about the I-LABS trip to Spain »
Major brain pathway rediscovered after century-old confusion, controversy
A couple of years ago a scientist looking at dozens of MRI scans of human brains noticed something surprising. A large, fiber pathway that wasn't t mentioned in any of the modern-day anatomy textbooks he had. Jason Yeatman, of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, and his colleagues at Stanford University report their detective work to figure out the identity of the mysterious fiber bundle.
Read a Q&A with the researchers, see additional media coverage of the rediscovered brain pathway»
Major brain pathway rediscovered
A massive white matter tract at the back of the brain, overlooked for the past century, might be crucial for skills such as reading. Jason Yeatman, post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Learning & Brain Science and lead researcher, is quoted.
A vital brain structure was forgotten for 100 years because scientists couldn't agree
A group of researchers has tracked the complicated history of a long-forgotten neural pathway. Jason Yeatman, post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences and lead researcher, is quoted.
Scientists discover secret corridor of brain, lost for 100 years
Two years ago Jason Yeatman, a researcher at the UW, stumbled into a secret corridor of the mind.
UW study shows direct brain interface between humans
UW researchers have successfully replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection between pairs of people as part of a scientific study following the team’s initial demonstration in 2013. Andrea Stocco and Chantel Prat, of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, and Rajesh Rao, a UW professor of computer science and engineering, are collaborators on the research.
Read more, see additional media coverage of the brain-to-brain communication work »
Wishful thinking: Can scientists read your brain?
While great advances in understanding the brain are being made, no one's going to be taking a sci-fi worthy peek inside your cranium anytime soon. UW research is cited.
A breakthrough in brain-to-brain communication using a video game
Scientists from the UW have proven it's possible for people to communicate using only their brains. Specifically, they showed that a player of a shooter-style video game could trigger another player to fire a cannon just by thinking "fire."
When two brains connect
The dawn of human brain-to-brain communication has arrived. I-LABS' Andrea Stocco and UW collaborator Rajesh Rao talk about their direct brain interface research, including related ethical dilemmas.
Warm, bright, quiet: Students do best in well-designed classrooms
A growing body of scientific evidence on the importance of a classroom’s physical environment. A policy paper -- co-authored by Andrew Meltzoff, co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, and his UW collaborator Sapna Cheryan -- says that classroom decor also has an effect on classroom learning.
Read more, see additional media coverage of the classroom design research »
Quality of words, not quantity, is crucial to language skills, study finds
A new study points to the importance of high-quality communication with young children. Patricia Kuhl, a director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, is quoted.
Read more about how quality, not quantity, of words is important for narrowing the word gap »
Toddlers regulate behavior to avoid making adults angry
Children as young as 15 months can detect anger when watching other people’s social interactions and then use that emotional information to guide their own behavior, according to a new research paper by Andrew Meltzoff and Betty Repacholi of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences.
Read more, see additional media coverage of the research »
When do babies learn self-control?
A new study looks at when kids are able to use social cues to regulate their behavior. Andrew Meltzoff, co-author of the study and co-director of Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, is quoted.
Watch what really happens when toddlers see you angry
A video posted recently by UW's Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences shows an experiment in which a 15-month-old boy must decide whether to play with some beads after witnessing an adult get angry when someone else makes noise playing with them.
UW viral video: Toddler leaves toy alone to avoid an adult's anger
Move over marshmallow test, there's a new video showing the struggles of a toddler to control his impulses and it comes right out of the UW.
Panelists push for need, funding of early-childhood education
Scientists and politicians brought their expertise Wednesday night to a intense discussion about the importance of early childhood education. Patricia Kuhl and Andrew Meltzoff, co-directors of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, participated.
Talk to your baby: Her brain depends on it
There's a simple step parents can take to help keep their children on course, starting in year one, something most people take for granted: Baby talk. Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, is quoted.
Is e-reading to your toddler story time, or simply screen time?
Patricia Kuhl, a co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, is quoted.
What makes kids do their best? UW fellow is trying to find out
Seattle Times columnist Jerry Large writes about the work of Leoandra Onnie Rogers, post-doctoral fellow with I-LABS.
How a second language trains your brain for math
Second languages strengthen the brain's executive control circuits, with benefits beyond words. Andrea Stocco and Chantel Prat, of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, show that the basal ganglia may be a key player in bilinguals' improved executive function.
Read more about the research »
Learning by watching, toddlers show intuitive understanding of probability
In a study led by Anna Waismeyer and Andrew Meltzoff of the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, toddlers could tell the difference between two different ways an experimenter played a game, with one strategy being more successful than the other. When it was their turn to play, the children could use the more successful strategy that they observed to increase their odds of winning.
More media coverage of this research »
Toddlers can figure out a game of chance quicker than you might think
Toddlers use intuition for probability to their advantage, according to a new study led by researchers at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences.
Guest: The critical role of doctors in early learning
Brain and economic research unequivocally demonstrate that the earliest experiences matter the most, two pediatricians wrote in a letter to the editor. Families must be taught how language develops, and support them so that they talk and read regularly with their children, starting in infancy. Research from the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences is cited.
Using your brain to capacity, no miracles necessary
One of the benefits of recent brain research is the advances in understanding how to protect and nurture our brains from the start of life, columnist Jerry Large wrote. The Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences has been at the forefront of much of that research, he added.
Months before their first words, babies' brains rehearse speech mechanics
Infants can tell the difference between the sounds of all languages until about 8 months of age, when their brains begin to focus on the sounds they hear around them. It's been unclear how this transition occurs. Researchers at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences show that speech sounds stimulate areas of the brain that coordinate and plan motor movements for speech.
See additional media coverage »
Even among babies, practice makes perfect
Babies as young as 7 months old are already rehearsing the motions behind speech, even though they can't talk yet. NPR talks with Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences.
Babies grasp speech before they utter their first word, a study finds
A new UW study has found that a key part of the brain involved in forming speech is firing away in babies as they listen to voices around them.
Baby talk: Infants may practice words in their minds
Months before they say their first real "mama" or "dada," babies are practicing those words in their heads, new research by the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences suggests.
Baby talk could boost babies' brain power
Patricia Kuhl, co-director of UW's Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, talks to "Good Morning America" about the benefits of baby talk.
UW experts offer free resources to help caregivers boost babies' brains
Researchers at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences are offering a free library of resources showcasing the latest research in how young children learn. Sarah Roseberry Lytle, director of outreach at I-LABS, is quoted.
No gadgets required: Parents' talking aids baby brain growth
Scientists have learned a lot about the preschool brain over the past decade. But unless they read medical journals, most parents and others who care for their young children have yet to hear about those discoveries. Patricia Kuhl talks about I-LABS' new series of online learning modules that explain baby brain development and what to do with that knowledge.
New video offers research-based tips to boost early learning
The Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences is putting its research into action by offering parents and other caregivers virtual lessons in how they can support early brain development.
Wash. scientists cheer docs' push to read to kids starting at birth -- or earlier
The nation’s largest association of pediatricians is recommending parents read to their children starting at birth. Sarah Roseberry Lytle, outreach director at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, talks about research showing how spoken communications enrich a baby’s developing brain right from the beginning.
Mayors, here's your brain on early childhood education
The nation’s mayors had a crash course in neuroscience from brain expert Patricia Kuhl, of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. She showed them research about how much early childhood education makes a difference and how the interaction and experiences children have from birth to five determine what kind of connections in the brain stay over a lifetime.
For Father's Day, get rid working-father myths
There is still a lot of confusion around men and their roles in family life. Research on "parentese" by Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, is mentioned as something both mothers and fathers do to help their children learn.
It's never too early for children to learn a second language, say experts
In case parents are worried that it might be too taxing for children to learn more than one language while they are young, studies by American brain development experts Andrew Meltzoff and Patricia Kuhl show otherwise.
2014 superheroes for Washington families
A profile of Patricia Kuhl and Andrew Meltzoff, co-directors of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, describes them as both big thinkers and big dreamers.
Pilot program gives parents tools to boost babies' brains
Scientists have made compelling discoveries about how babies and young children build the neurological connections they need to understand their world. A recently launched program aims to put those discoveries — and a toolbox of practical tips on how to use them — in the hands of more parents. Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, is quoted.
Babbling babies -- responding to one-on-one 'baby talk' -- master more words
Common advice to new parents is that the more words babies hear the faster their vocabulary grows. Now new findings from the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences show that what spurs early language development isn’t so much the quantity of words as the style of speech and social context in which speech occurs.
Read more, see additional media coverage on the research paper »
'Baby talk' helps babies learn to speak more quickly
Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, discusses her new study on the benefits of “parent-ese," or baby talk.
Baby talk really does help build your Kiddy-Widdy's vocabulary
An amusing video depicts research from the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences showing how speaking in "parentese'' -- using a sing-song voice and stretching out the sounds of words -- helps babies learn words.