People subconsciously monitor their voices to ensure the sound they are producing is the one that is intended. If it is different, we are able to change that tone, but new research found that toddlers do not monitor their voices in the same way.
“Surprisingly, 2-year-olds do not monitor their auditory feedback like adults do, suggesting they are using a different strategy to control speech production,” lead author Ewen MacDonald of the Technical University of Denmark told ABCNews.com.
MacDonald said monitoring one’s voice is similar to musicians playing music. For example, violinists adjust their fingers to bring a note that is out of tune, in tune.
In the study, published in the journal Cell Biology, a group of adults, 4-year-olds, and 2-year-olds said the word “bed” repeatedly while simultaneously hearing the word “bad” through a set of headphones. Everyone was able to adjust their speech to continue to say the word “bed,” except for the youngest age group.
The findings are surprising because infants can detect small changes in the pronunciation of familiar words in their native language, MacDonald said. By the time American children reach age 2, they have an average of 300 words in their vocabulary.
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