Patricia Kuhl is a co-author of a paper that investigated the brain mechanisms that contribute to infants’ prowess at learning languages, with the hope that the findings could boost bilingualism in adults, too.
The researchers found that the brains of babies raised in bilingual households show a longer period of being flexible to different languages, especially if they hear a lot of language at home. They also showed that the relative amount of each language – English and Spanish – babies were exposed to affected their vocabulary as toddlers. The paper first appeared in the Journal of Phonetics and has received coverage from India to the UK, from Hispanically Speaking News to Science Daily. Co-authors include Maritza Rivera-Gaxiola, formerly a UW research scientist; Cherie Percaccio, a postdoctoral researcher and Lindsay Klarman , a research technician at the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0095447011000660