Why Mothers Use Baby Talk with Kids, but Fathers Don't
Researchers believe that mothers and fathers complement each other when aiding in their child's speech development.
If you go to a park on a nice afternoon, you'll often see mother's cooing at their children, speaking in higher-pitched voices, otherwise known as baby talk. But fathers, not so much. It's an interesting behavioral phenomenon that lead researcher Mark VanDam, a professor in the Speech and Hearing Sciences department at Washington State University Spokane, wants to understand.
As one part of a larger study, VanDam and his team outfitted preschoolers and their parents with recording devices to monitor their day-to-day verbal interactions. Their ultimate goal was to compare how mothers and fathers spoke to their children — if both parties modified their speech.
The results confirmed what researchers already knew: The mothers tended to baby talk to their kids, changing back to their normal speaking voice when they were addressing other adults, while the fathers didn't change a thing, speaking to their children as they would other adults. It's believed that baby talk is a way for mothers to bond with their young, as the exaggerated pitch and vocals are particularly attractive to youngsters.
From this understanding, researchers have begun to wonder if fathers are failing to engage with their children by not using this fun, cutesy speech.
However, VanDam is here to assure fathers that they aren't hindering their child's development. He said in a press release:
"This isn't a bad thing at all — it's not a failing of the fathers. We think that maybe fathers are doing things that are conducive to their children's learning, but in a different way. The parents are complementary to their children's language learning."
In fact, VanDam believes a father's lack of baby talk is part of a larger speech “bridge hypothesis” he has about language development. Mothers engage children with their baby talk while fathers provide a bridge to what people really sound like in the outside world. Researchers did note that while fathers didn't alter the pitch of their voice, they did modify other parts of their speech, such as using different vocabulary or changing their volume.
VanDam admits there were some restraints to the study. Families had to be comprised of a mother and father in a heterosexual relationship that lived with the child full-time. VanDam assures that this study is going to be the first of many in examining how fathers support their child's language development and he hopes to include other modern family types.
Read more at Science Daily.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
- Human beings are psychologically hardwired to fear differences
- Several recent studies show evidence that digital spaces exacerbate the psychology which contributes to tribalism
- Shared experiences of awe, such as space travel, or even simple shared meals, have surprising effectives for uniting opposing groups
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is updated for the 21st century in a new study.
- Maslow's famous "Hierarchy of Needs" describes different levels of human motivation.
- A new study updates the hierarchy through modern methods.
- The research shows that self-actualized people share 10 specific traits.
There are many ways to posit the fundamental nature of reality.
- After thousands of years, and an infinite amount of novel experiences, there are today many dueling schools of philosophical thought.
- A great philosophical background takes into account a number of metaphysical positions and ideas.
- These 10 philosophy books all take on the questions of existence in a unique and varied manner.
There are two main types of sexual fantasies. One, however, is more destructive than the other.
- There are two main types of sexual fantasies.
- One of them is more harmful to the a relationship or marriage than the other (by a lot).
- Sexually fantasizing about somebody else, though, neither hurts a relationship nor helps it; instead, it has the same mental impact as random daydreaming.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.