July 29, 2021

Babies learn to synchronize gestures and speech

Babies learn to synchronize gestures and speech


Babies synchronize gestures and speech when they learn language, as it does in the case of adults.

This has been proven by a study carried out by several psychologists from the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) through a study in which they analyzed the way in which children coordinate gestures and vocal elements when they are learning to use language, before even being able to use words, informs Servimedia.

The research considers that the gestural and motor components are an "integral part" of the linguistic system, and that communication skills "emerge in a complex system in which not only verbal articulated behavior must be considered".

To reach this conclusion, the team of researchers observed the communicative behaviors of ten children, since they were nine months old until they turned 18 months old.

They identified all communicative behaviors and analyzed the multimodal ones, which included gestures and vocalizations. Next, they reflected on how certain characteristics of these behaviors changed as children grow and developed "more complex" forms of communication.

They measured the total duration of communicative behaviors as well as the degree to which the elements of different modalities, gestural and vocal, overlapped in time and found that, as they grew, These multimodal communicative behaviors "are becoming shorter and the elements that make them overlap more over time."

"This means that the elements that compose communication behaviors are increasingly coordinated and communication is more efficient," the researchers insisted.

The work, published in Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, also states that, from very early on, "they learn to integrate different communication elements when they want to transmit something to another person", according to Eva Murillo and Marta Casla.

"These measures of synchrony were related to independent measures of development of the later vocabulary, that is, with the number of words the child knows how to say," they abounded.

The development of this line of research will allow us to know what elements in early communicative development predict subsequent development, "so that we can detect very early any possible difficulty or alteration," the authors concluded.

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