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Benefits for babies exposed to two languages found in Singaporean birth cohort study

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posted on Sep, 2 2014 @ 09:29 PM
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Benefits for babies exposed to two languages found in Singaporean birth cohort study


A team of investigators and clinician-scientists in Singapore and internationally have found that there are advantages associated with exposure to two languages in infancy. As part of a long-term birth cohort study of Singaporean mothers and their offspring called GUSTO -- seminally a tripartite project between A*STAR's Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS), KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) and the National University Hospital (NUH) -- (see Annex A), six-month old bilingualinfants recognised familiar images faster than those brought up in monolingual homes. They also paid more attention to novel images compared to monolingual infants.

The findings reveal a generalized cognitive advantage that emerges early in bilingual infants, and is not specific to a particular language. The findings were published online on 30 July 2014 in the scientific journal, Child Development.

Infants were shown a coloured image of either a bear or a wolf. For half the group, the bear was made to become the "familiar" image while the wolf was the "novel" one, and vice versa for the rest of the group. The study showed that bilingual babies got bored of familiar images faster than monolingual babies.

Several previous studies in the field have shown that the rate at which an infant becomes bored of a familiar image and subsequent preference for novelty is a common predictor of better pre-school developmental outcomes, such as advanced performance in concept formation, non-verbal cognition, expressive and receptive language, and IQ tests. The past studies showed that babies who looked at the image and then rapidly get bored, demonstrated higher performance in various domains of cognition and language later on as children.

Bilingual babies also stared for longer periods of time at the novel image than their monolingual counterparts, demonstrating "novelty preference." Other studies in the field have shown this is linked with improved performance in later IQ and vocabulary tests during pre-school and school-going years.


I had heard it was always easier to learn a second language (or more) when you were a child and this study helps back that.

This study shows that bilingual babies do better with advanced performance in concept formation, non-verbal cognition, expressive and receptive language, and IQ tests as opposed to monolingual babies. As bilingual also demonstrate an improved performance in later IQ and vocabulary tests during pre-school and school-going years. They say visual habituation is one of the few tasks in infancy that has been shown to predict later cognitive development.

This finding that bilingual input to babies is associated with cognitive enhancement, suggests a potentially strong neurocognitive advantage for Singaporean children outside the domain of language, in processing new information and recognising familiar objects with greater accuracy.

I think I will being teaching my baby another language, well when I have one.




posted on Sep, 2 2014 @ 09:48 PM
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knowing two languages does not make you smarter. I know people who know more than one language and they are definitely not smarter than some that know only one. Now all languages have sub languages, look at the sciences and the local slangs and internet slang.

Knowing a foreign language may actually make you less able to understand the people in your own locality. That would be dumb, not smart. The older people have a lot of knowledge to give us, if you ask them the right questions. In their own local variation. You cannot seem like an outsider or belittle them with big words or other languages, they feel like their contribution is not worthy. But it is very important, especially if you live around there. The ones who pay attention learn the most.



posted on Sep, 2 2014 @ 09:51 PM
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a reply to: knoledgeispower

I'm all for bilingualism, having spoken two languages from an early age myself. I believe that being able to function in two cultures makes people more empathetic and tolerant, and yes, probably more comfortable with the new, the unusual, the alien, too. But I beg leave to doubt this study. Singapore is a very authoritarian state and A*Star is a government-funded research organization, IIRC. I find it oddly convenient that these findings play so well into the bilingualism policy of the Government of Singapore. Not that it's a bad policy; but this kind of scientific support for it is a little too convenient for it to be taken at face value. I'll wait till somebody in another country replicates the study, using non-Singaporean subjects.



posted on Sep, 2 2014 @ 10:29 PM
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Great find, my daughters where raised in Japanese,french and english, they've been top tier in all there classes since there start in school. Children's brains are sponges for knowledge.



posted on Sep, 2 2014 @ 10:31 PM
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edit on 2-9-2014 by dukeofjive696969 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 2 2014 @ 11:03 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse

So are you saying this study is wrong, that their results were flawed?

I think the people you are talking about weren't bilingual when they are babies. That is what is the key here in order to get the results they did.



posted on Sep, 2 2014 @ 11:08 PM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Fair enough.

I do see it being true though based on what they said. Having to be learning two languages when your a baby & be able to tell the two apart, would mean that the baby does better with some things as they get older than monolingual babies.



posted on Sep, 2 2014 @ 11:39 PM
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Agree with the study, 2 of my kids are Bi and adding a 3rd and 4th in next few years.
Basically we going to live in a 3rd country now so they learn Spanish also. Then its extra study for mandarin!
I think that multi Bi is a sure way to guarantee godd income regardless of degree or career path and if changing career so much easier!



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 12:50 AM
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I do think this is accurate. My children were started from birth hearing two languages, and what I observe is that it develops a certain gymnastic of the mind in which one can have concepts of things without language.

I mean that, because one must switch from language to another, there is a neutral point they must pass by- the object, or idea, without word. With only one language, the two quickly get tangled together, and it becomes impossible sometimes to separate them. The inner dialogue automatically says "apple " when one sees the object we call that (or smells one, or tastes one). It is never silent, sensing.....

The ability to experience the world without word makes it possible to learn other languages very quickly- all my children picked up third or fourth languages very easily.

But it also allows for perception of the objective world a bit more. As soon as our own language is mixed up in it, it become subjective- language vehicles culture- values, morals, principles, which are specific to the culture of that language. Without word, it becomes obvious that all those are relative and superficial (and vary).

What is left without the word, is a world of neutral value, shared by all, and open to our own personal judgement and value. That makes it quite exciting to explore and discover!

Each one of my kids ended up pairing with a partner who is also bi-cultural, and bilingual. I suspect that just couldn't connect with others who did not perceive that world.

They also each are extremely intelligent and did very well in school (are doing well in university) despite the fact that they got virtually no help from me or their father. I could not help them with homework (as I did not speak the language well enough when they were little, and my husband was working too hard to support us). I watched lots of parents around me working so hard to help their kids get through their studies, and criticizing me for not being more involved than I was, and yet my kids were more successful anyway!
I have no concrete proof to back it up, but I have always suspected that it was their bilingual, bi-cultural childhood that enabled them to learn more, easier.



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 02:31 AM
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I worked with a guy from the Philippines, he spoke fluent English and what ever language they speak over there, and could hold a decent conversation with a Spanish speaking person. He was exposed to the first two since birth. The dude isn't the brightest person, although he is very good at art, drawing in particular.

In today's world being 'smart' has several meanings. Someone who can take apart a car engine and put it back together might not be able to say, read a book in a day and write an essay on it, and vice versa. Knowledge comes to all in different elements of skills and experiences.



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 06:01 AM
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I feel that there may be some credence to this study however I am in no position to back it up. :-)

Babies are going to learn the language since the babies brain takes on data at compounding rates. It is much more difficult to teach a second language to a teenager or adult.

Just like the playing classical music theory for babies is suppose to make them smarter... ?

I believe the more knowledge and data you throw at them they will logically start off with a broader base of information to begin with. No, it doesn't mean they will end up smarter than the baby next to them who didn't learn a second language or listen to the classical music. But it does give them an advantage of being exposed at an earlier stage to get that brain working on a cognitive level.

leolady



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 05:22 PM
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a reply to: knoledgeispower

I am saying this evidence is being misinterpreted. The fact that they can learn a different language well should be considered. The kids that couldn't learn a second language, even though they were taught, have a problem converting the information. All this shows is which kids are more intelligent in the language conversion.

You could use this for identification purposes, unless of course, the kid doesn't want to learn a second language. I never knew a second language, but I knew more scientific words than most people in my school and developed a more efficient way of multiplying and dividing numbers in a fraction of the time in my head. I also definitely did not want to learn to read music. You have a right to say no if you want to. They figured since my IQ was so high I could easily play an instrument. Haha. I hated playing music. I liked chemistry and engineering better ways to do stuff. I liked learning to do all sorts of things except music and learning a different language. They made good stereos in the seventies. Now, I wouldn't mind spending time learning to communicate with birds.



posted on Sep, 5 2014 @ 11:02 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse


I am saying this evidence is being misinterpreted. The fact that they can learn a different language well should be considered. The kids that couldn't learn a second language, even though they were taught, have a problem converting the information. All this shows is which kids are more intelligent in the language conversion.

Very young children have an instinctive ability to acquire language. Only those with brain damage fail to do this.



posted on Sep, 6 2014 @ 07:23 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

You are forgetting desire. I didn't want to learn Finnish because other kids did not speak Finnish when I was a kid. The kids who spoke Finnish around here were thought of as not normal. This has nothing to do with ability, it has to do with society and wanting to belong to a certain group. Society was trying to get everyone speaking the same language here in the US when I was a kid.

When someone is speaking to another person in a different language around me, I feel uneasy, not knowing if they are talking about me or if they are trying to hide or plan something that they don't want others to know about. Now if you come to America to live, you should learn English. If I wanted to go live in Finland, I would learn Finish. Why would I want to learn a language that hardly anyone speaks in our area. Kids are being taught Spanish in school, why? So they know when they are being swindled by the illegal immigrants working on their home?

I knew a guy who knew a dozen different languages years ago, he learned Finnish by talking to people in the bar within two weeks. He could learn a complete language in a month. He was a real nice and sociable guy that was going to the local college, but he wasn't very smart at math or science and had no interest in those things. He liked learning new languages. Now that is a sign of desire, he liked learning the languages. Whatever your desire is it dedicates part of the brain to that desire. I could multiply numbers like 259x1476 in my mind faster than a person could type it into a calculator before. Was I smart? No, that is only an indication that I could multiply numbers in my brain and I had developed an organized region of short term memories to accomplish this. But my social skills were not that great. I felt ackward around others because they were interested in things I could not relate to.

Now, I have finally learned to be interested in things like cooking, gardening, feeding the deer, caring for animals, etc. I was depersonalized all my life. Watching things from the side, observing what people were like and how they thought. I think many people out there are acting as I was, trying to fit into society to belong.

There is no test that can test intelligence unless desire is considered. Most of the most intelligent people are not in high intelligence jobs. I felt out of place because of my intellect in school. I wanted to be like the other kids.



posted on Sep, 6 2014 @ 09:00 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse

Well luckily your view based on the people that you know does not constitute a big enough group to say either way for sure, of course there's always gonna be exceptions to the rule, that much is given, or rather it should be.



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