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infant stimulation: intelligence

F. Frank LeFever flefever at ix.netcom.com
Sat Mar 27 21:51:06 EST 1999

I'll take Dag's observation about preverbal language preparation to
another level: there is much experimental evidence that infants begin
with a capacity to produce and to discriminate all the speech sounds
humans are capable of, but gradually lose the ability to produce or
discriminate all but those important in their language environment
(i.e. what they hear around them), long before they are able to produce
or understand what will become their "native" language. (In a sense ALL
languages are "native" to them, at a phonemic level...).

Perhaps related to the "pruning" process in neural development--i.e.,
"use it or lose it" in the context of cerebral circuitry.

F. Frank LeFever, Ph.D.
Nes York Neuropsychology Group

In <7dfger$2fh$3 at oravannahka.Helsinki.FI>
dag.stenberg at helsinki.nospam.fi writes: 
>Michael Edelman <mje at mich.com> wrote:
>> The more stimulation you can provide to a child,
>> the better, and the earlier you provide it, the better. One of the
>> strongest early-childhood correlates to later academic success is
>> the child was read to. Surprise.
>Language is learned, not inherent. Children who do not hear it spoken
>not acquire it, and children learn the language they actually are
exposed to,
>even if they were originally born red, black, white or yellow. 
>Even before children can understand the words, they do appreciate the
>prosody of talk, and this serves to program their social abilities
>(read: limbic system, prefrontal lobe, etc.).
>So no wonder that reading to children, talking to them, singing to
>helps to develop their neural and mental abilities.
>The actual studies (cannot give you references, as I did not give that
>lecture) I have heard of, showing that reading to the child
>correlates with academic success were performed on primary level
>shoolchildren, some of which had real difficulties in learning to read
>and write. Such children had often been intellectually neglected by 
>their parents (who may not have had much academic success either, and
>probably watched football more than talked to the children. 
>Dag Stenberg

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