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Songbirds May Hold the Secret to how Babies Learn to Speak

25th January, 2018

[Source: Science Daily]

The explanation for how people learn complex behaviors, such as speech, might be found in a new study of songbirds by scientists at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

“One hypothesis to explain speech development is that the sound of each word creates a memory, or template in the brain,” says Sarah Bottjer, a professor of biological sciences and psychology at USC Dornsife College and an author of the study. “That template becomes the internal recording a baby uses, as its goal, to say the word.”

When attempting to say a word, a baby’s brain may compare the sound it utters to the brain’s template of that word. The outcome of that evaluation may be relayed to neural circuits responsible for generating motor commands (mouth movement and breathing) to produce sound. When the sound is a match, the neural circuitry to make that sound is strengthened. When it’s not, it’s recognized as an error that corresponds with an attempt to correct the neural circuitry.

Read the Rest of this Article on Science Daily

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