Tuesday, August 14, 2007

But Why Do Babies Learn Less From "Brain Training" videos?

Over the past week there have been many news reports about Frederick Zimmerman's research. He has shown that babies who watch videos like "Baby Einstein" actual learn less words than babies who don't. I'm not exactly an authoriy on babies, but I can't say I'm surprised by this. What really surprises me is that many parents of young infants don't quite understand why this is so. First of all, in your gut you already know that tv tends to dumb people down. So why would that general rule not hold true for babies? But why though? I think the advertising does the most harm, but how is it that these videos are detrimental even when they are commercial free?

Like I said I am not an expert on babies, but one thing I do know is that they respond much better to direct communication. There is a HUGE difference between a face on the tv, and a face that is there in person, talking directly to the child. We know that body language is 80% of all communication among adults, and it is safe to assume that babies are the same way. Perhaps even moreso. So it naturally follows that they are not going to learn as much from some plastic-like face on tv. There's no interaction.

Remember, most mammals do not respond at all to faces on the tv, no matter how smart they are. Perhaps other mammals are smarter than us, in that respect.


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