Discussion Tuesday, Sept. 17th on how babies learn sounds first encountered in the womb!

This discussion should be very interesting, don’t miss it! The hangout will be at Noon-12:30 pm (Pacific Time) on Tuesday September 17.

Spotlight Live: Language Development & Babies
September 17 (Tuesday), Noon-12:30 pm PDT


GOOD NEWS FOR EXPECTING PARENTS who sing to their unborn children; recently, a new study provided scientific proof that babies can remember specific sounds and perhaps words first encountered in the womb. But what exactly is an unborn baby hearing and remembering, and how can we find out how this may influence a child’s early development?

On Sept. 17, Noon-12:30 PDT, three researchers – Eino Partanen from the University of Helsinki and lead author of the recent study; Jeff Elman from the Kavli Institute for Brain & Mind at the University of California, San Diego; and Christine Moon from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington – will answer your questions about this new study, early language development, and the making of memories in the womb.

Can babies learn sounds and words from the womb?Photo by Dustin M. Ramsey, release under the Creative Commons license.

About the Participants

JEFF ELMAN – Dean of the Division of Social Sciences at the University of California at San Diego, Co-Director of the Kavli Institute for Brain & Mind, Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science, and Chancellor’s Associates Endowed Chair. Prof. Elman’s primary research interests are on language processing and learning. He studies language both through computational models and also through psycholinguistic and neuroimaging studies. Current projects include developmental studies that focus on language learning in the first year of life.

CHRISTINE MOON – Professor of Psychology, Pacific Lutheran University; Associate Professor, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences; Affiliate Faculty, University of Washington, Seattle. Dr. Moon’s primary research interest is the effect of very early experience on the perception of speech sounds and voice recognition. Her laboratory is in the mother/baby care unit at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma. Dr. Moon is co-founder of the International Perinatal Brain and Behavior Network.

EINO PARTANEN – Researcher at the University of Helsinki and a neuropsychologist at Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS). He is currently finishing his PhD in psychology in the Cognitive Brain Research Unit and the Finnish Center of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Music Research. His research focuses on precognitive perception of speech features in fetuses, newborns, children and adults. In addition, he has worked on studies of pre-term infants and their cognitive development.

BRUCE LIEBERMAN (moderator) – Freelance science writer and moderator. Bruce has more than 20 years of experience in the news business. He worked as a reporter at daily newspapers for many years before becoming an independent writer and editor in 2010. For The Kavli Foundation, he has interviewed researchers about numerous topics in astronomy & astrophysics, neuroscience and nanotechnology. He has also written for Scientific American, Smithsonian Air & Space and Sky & Telescope magazines, and other media outlets about a variety of science topics.

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