Children exposed to other languages are better at understanding other people

Quartz

A new study (paywall) suggests that children who speak multiple languages are better at understanding other people. And not only those who are fluent, but those that are simply exposed to another language in their daily lives.

Samantha Fan, Zoe Liberman, Boaz Keysar, and Katherine Kinzler, from the University of Chicago, tested this theory by getting an adult to ask bilingual, monolingual and “exposed” children aged four to six to move objects blocked from the adult’s point of view. The children could see a range of differently-sized toy cars, including a small one that the adult couldn’t see.

When the adult said “I see a small car” and asked the child to move it, the bilingual and exposed children moved the medium car—that is, the smallest car that the adult could see—75% of the time. Children without language skills or exposure only did so 50% of the time. The kids who had been exposed to…

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bibliotecario flâneur | embedded librarian | in libraries + architecture + travel + history
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