Researchers from the University of York have discovered that the number of words a child hears doesn’t just improve their vocabulary and linguistic development, it can also contribute to the development of nonverbal abilities like reasoning, numerical understanding, and shape awareness. The study used LENA technology to measure the natural language environment of 107 children. Researchers found a positive association between cognitive abilities and the quality of adult speech children heard (based on both the number of words and lexical diversity). The study adds to a body of evidence that shows the importance of adult-child interactions for child cognitive development and behavioral outcomes. “When parents are responsive and encouraging their kids to explore and express themselves they are basically creating an environment where children know they are being heard and understand they have an ability to influence the attention of others in a positive way,” American Academy of Pediatrics spokesperson Dr. Dipesh Navsaria said.