Dear infants more attuned to parent’s visual cues

Posted on October 30, 2019

Researchers found that for infants, early experiences do matter. Deaf infants that were exposed to American Sign Language demonstrated strong gaze following behaviour. Broader research into early learning finds that deaf infants of deaf parents may be even more attuned than hearing infants to the social and visual signals of others.

Children adapt to the people who communicate with them. One learns from your social context – the people around you. Children, especially, thrive through interactions with other people. This work shows that children tune to social cues in their environment starting from early infancy.

Observations showed that deaf infants interacting with their deaf parents have suggested that these infants possess keen control over their eye-gaze behaviour. This accelerated gaze following among deaf infants could be related to their exposure to sign language. This sign language environment exposes and demands the young infants to shift their eye gaze between their parent and the world of interesting objects. Deaf infants may also have enhanced visual control as a result of their sole reliance on visual cues and not auditory cues.

Researchers have also found that the deaf infants were also more apt to look back at the adult after following the adult’s gaze. This ‘checking back’ behaviour is a form of communication, which can indicate that the infant is seeking more information from the adult. Hearing infants can learn from both what an adult looks at and what the adult verbally says about it. Deaf infants must rely on visual cues.

This further proves the capability of the human mind and brain’s flexibility to achieve our fundamental birth right – connections to others.


Category(s):Child Development

Source material from Science Daily


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