Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



Babies Work Specific Brain Areas to Imitate People

Babies Work Specific Brain Areas to Imitate People

10/31/13

THURSDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Babies imitate other people to learn how to do things, and now researchers say they've pinpointed just how infants' brains work during that process.

Copying others is a vital learning tool for babies, who often will observe how other people do things -- for example, guiding a spoon to the mouth -- and then imitate those body movements.

This study is the first to identify specific brain activation patterns in babies when watching an adult perform tasks with different parts of the body, according to the authors of the study, which was published online Oct. 30 in the journal PLoS One.

Seventy 14-month-old infants were fitted with caps with embedded sensors that detected brain activity in regions of the cortex that respond to movement or touch of the feet and hands. The babies sat on a parent's lap and watched as a researcher touched a toy placed on a low table between the baby and the researcher.

When the researcher used her hand to touch the toy, the hand area of the infants' brains showed increased activity. When the researcher used her foot to touch the toy, the foot area of the infants' brains showed increased activity.

"Babies are exquisitely careful people-watchers, and they're primed to learn from others," study co-author Andrew Meltzoff, co-director of the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, said in a university news release. "Now we see that when babies watch someone else, it activates their own brains. This study is a first step in understanding the neuroscience of how babies learn through imitation."

"The reason this is exciting is that it gives insight into a crucial aspect of imitation," study co-author Peter Marshall, an associate psychology professor at Temple University, said in the news release.

"To imitate the action of another person, babies first need to register what body part the other person used," Marshall said. "Our findings suggest that babies do this in a particular way by mapping the actions of the other person onto their own body."

More information

Zero to Three has more about infants' brain development.

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse Hospital First in Region to Use New da Vinci Xi Surgical System
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

CrouseSports Express After-Hours Ortho Care

Immediate care of orthopedic injuries in kids and adults.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >