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posted by LaminatorX on Saturday June 07 2014, @01:41PM   Printer-friendly
from the IT'S-COUNTING-TIME! dept.

Research into vocabulary acquisition in early childhood has found that vocabulary acquisition of number words over the first three years of life are associated with verbal and visuospatial working memory at seven years. The more number words a child had learnt between 20 and 26 months, and the earlier they learnt them, was linked to a greater number recall at age 7. Previous research has shown that verbal working memory and vocabulary acquisition are linked in early childhood, but not whether a smaller number of specific words is related to recall of the same words later in life.

We found that the more number words the child produced between 20-26 months of age and the earlier the child started to produce the number words 1-10, the greater the child's ability to recall numbers at 7 years of age even when controlling for general cognitive development during toddlerhood, parental education, and age at the time of the working memory assessment. No such relationship was found between location and quantifier term production in toddlerhood and number recall later in life. Importantly, we also did not find a link between early number word production and later verbal working memory performance for other types of words. These findings provide preliminary evidence of a category-specific link between early vocabulary knowledge and later verbal working memory performance using number words as stimuli.

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  • (Score: 2) by skullz on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:34PM

    by skullz (2532) on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:34PM (#52620)

    I wonder if this would adversely affect a kid with a physical speech disorder. If they don't speak because they keep getting corrected or can't be understood then they might not learn that many words.

    • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:57PM

      by Angry Jesus (182) on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:57PM (#52628)

      Remember that this isn't necessarily a casual link. It may well be that children with greater aptitude exhibit that at an earlier age by learning more number words.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by twistedcubic on Saturday June 07 2014, @04:28PM

        by twistedcubic (929) on Saturday June 07 2014, @04:28PM (#52655)

        Exactly. The study was a waste of time.

        • (Score: 2) by skullz on Saturday June 07 2014, @04:32PM

          by skullz (2532) on Saturday June 07 2014, @04:32PM (#52656)

          I think you are right but as a parent I will panic regardless.

        • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Saturday June 07 2014, @05:59PM

          by Angry Jesus (182) on Saturday June 07 2014, @05:59PM (#52675)

          > Exactly. The study was a waste of time.

          Far from it. Understanding how the brain develops is incredibly important and, like most science, is a war of inches.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07 2014, @08:01PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07 2014, @08:01PM (#52743)

        Who learns foreign languages better, children or adults. Furthermore if a newborn is not exposed to visual stimuli for the first two years after birth they may always have visual impairment issues because the brain may have a more difficult time building those visual pathways later in life. And people who aren't exposed to a language past eleven may forever be unable to process language the same. Even dogs that are trained for various professions are taught young.

      • (Score: 2) by umafuckitt on Saturday June 07 2014, @09:10PM

        by umafuckitt (20) on Saturday June 07 2014, @09:10PM (#52764)

        The study is still interesting as it's knowledge of this sort paves the way for experiments that can probe causality. To be honest, though, I feel that these sorts of studies are ultimately of little interest to parents. If you want your child to do well early on then the answer is generally pretty obvious: interact with them a lot and provide them with as many new experiences and learning opportunities as possible.

        • (Score: 1) by hellcat on Sunday June 08 2014, @09:09AM

          by hellcat (2832) Subscriber Badge on Sunday June 08 2014, @09:09AM (#52905) Homepage

          they're not looking for casualty here, but predictive links. being able to predict a childs proficiency earlier means two things. better intervention strategies and a better understanding of the underlying neural process.

  • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Sunday June 08 2014, @02:49AM

    by Angry Jesus (182) on Sunday June 08 2014, @02:49AM (#52837)

    This is only slightly related, but it is pretty amazing and as far as I know it isn't anything special, any chimp can learn to do it:

    http://youtu.be/A0-tuOQhSw8 [youtu.be]