Your Child's Brain in Week 53
Words are growing in importance for your little one around this age. His own first words may have begun to emerge, and by now you likely understand some of his other utterances: "Ba" for ball, "Dada" for Daddy, "Up" for I'm-gonna-lose-it-if-you-don't-release-me-from-this-high-chair.
But your child is not just attuned to the labels for the items around him. Right now, he recognizes his own name, in the quiet of his own bedroom when you're cooing at him during a cuddle and also later amid the buzz of household noises and conversations. (In fact, not since you initially chose your child's name has it been so meaningful!)
What the Research Shows
Researchers put young children, one by one, on their mother's laps in a sound booth. There, the infants heard a woman's voice repeat a name. In some trials, the name belonged to the infant being tested; in others, it was a random name.
As the name was repeated, nine different female voices spoke simultaneously in the background, emulating real-life listening situations. The researchers measured whether babies would listen longer to trials in which the voice repeated their own names versus trials in which the voice repeated other names. (Interest in their names was noted by the child looking up in the direction of the voices, which all came from the same area in the sound booth. All the names were called in a lively, animated voiceâ€"much like the parentese children are used to.)