It turns out a child's environment plays a pivotal role in speech development, especially when learning new words in the toddler stage. A new study from the University of Wisconsin Madison found that TVs and other sources of background noise can have a profound affect on a toddler's vocabulary development, even barring them from learning new words altogether.
The researchers gathered 106 toddlers aged 22 to 30 months and attempted to teach them new words; one group was surrounded by a lot of background noise while the other enjoyed silence. The researchers in the silent group were much more successful in their endeavors than those surrounded by noise; those children were too distracted to focus on the task at hand.
"Modern homes are filled with noisy distractions such as TV, radio, and other people talking that could affect how children learn words at early ages," said lead author of the study and doctoral psychology student Briana McMillan. "Our study suggests that adults should be aware of the amount of background speech in the environment when they're interacting with young children."
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