View All Articles

The Secret to Baby Talk: Lip-reading

January 23, 2012

There’s something to be envious of babies about: their ability to lip-read. A new study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has recently been published to show how babies use lip-reading as a way to learn how to shape their mouths to be able to produce words. It’s the process that takes place when a baby goes from babbling to saying words like “mamma” or “dada”. THIS is the moment where a parent scrambles to find the video camera to capture one of their baby’s first milestones!

The study included 180 babies of different ages who wore a soft headband with a sensor to track where the baby was gazing and for how long, while showing videos of a woman speaking. The study concluded that around 6 months of age, babies shift from looking at a person’s eyes, to looking at their mouth to figure out how to shape the words they are hearing. However, this doesn’t take long. Typically, by their first birthday they shift their gaze back to a person’s eyes and are already forming words.

Check out this cute toddler making “conversation” with her parents. She might not quite be to the lip-reading stage yet, but she’s clearly trying to get a point across, and a hilarious one at that!

These things don’t just happen on YouTube. We would love to hear your funny stories. What were some of the first words your baby said? Share it with us!