Quirks and Quarks

Babies Prefer the Sound of Other Babies

Infants pay more attention to replicated baby sounds than to adults making baby sounds.

Baby talk is more attractive than the voices of adults

(Linda Polka)
A recent study of babies has found that at a certain age, they prefer listening to the sound of other babies than those of adults.

Dr. Linda Polka, a Professor in the Speech Perception Lab at McGill University in Montreal, studied babies in the 4-to-5 month age group. The babies listened to vowel sounds representing other slightly older babies, as well as the raised pitch sounds of adults. Vowels are an important progression in speech development for babies at this age.

The subject babies listened to the other baby's sounds for much longer than those of the adults. Some of the infants even smiled and attempted to move their mouths, in an attempt to replicate the sound. The study provides insight into how babies are motivated to learn to vocalize, and may learn faster from their peers than from parents. 

Related Links

- Paper in Developmental Science
- McGill University release
CBC News story