Researchers have long known that adults can flexibly find new ways to communicate, for example, using smoke signals or Morse code to communicate at a distance, but a new Northwestern University study is the first to show that this same communicative flexibility is evident even in 6-month-olds.
The researchers set out to discover whether infants could learn that a novel sound was a “communicative signal” and, if so, whether it would confer the same advantages for their learning as does speech.
To do so, they had infants watch a short video in which two people had a conversation — one speaking in English and the other responding in beep sounds. Infants were then tested on whether these novel beep sounds would facilitate their learning about a novel object category, a fundamental cognitive process known to be influenced by speech. Could the beeps, once communicative, have the same effect? Indeed, the researchers found that after seeing the beeps used to communicate, the infants linked beep sounds to categorization just as if they were speech. (1)
In the beginning there was Logos.
And we try to find that ever since.