Don’t you wonder sometimes what’s going on inside your little one’s head? Developmental cognitive neuroscientist Rachel Romeo can show you. Romeo and her colleagues at MIT study the way young children’s brains respond to language. Researchers also had kids wear LENA devices to measure words and conversations at home. They found it wasn’t the number of words that resulted in positive brain development and higher verbal knowledge, but the amount of back-and-forth conversation.
“You can be a low-income family and hear lots and lots of conversations and your brain development will be right on par with the higher income family,” Romeo said.
Romeo says the study findings suggest early intervention programs that encourage parents to talk interactively with their children may be able to take advantage of the plasticity of the brain, helping to bridge the word gap.