babytalk2Baby Talk: Resources to Support the People Who Work With Infants and Toddlers

Issue No. 25, June 2013

They Hear Everything!

The brains of babies are highly plastic, allowing them to develop in response to the environments and encounters they experience. But this plasticity comes with a certain degree of vulnerability—research shows that severe stress, such as maltreatment or institutionalization, can have a significant negative impact on child development. In a recent study, it was observed that infants from high-conflict homes showed greater reactivity to very angry tone of voice in brain areas linked to stress and emotion regulation, such as the anterior cingulate cortex, caudate, thalamus and hypothalamus. The new findings show that babies are not oblivious to parental conflicts, and exposure to them may influence the way the brains of babies process emotion and stress.


The Wisdom of Alison Gopnik

The research of psychologist Alison Gopnik, author of The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life, has demonstrated how babies know much more, learn more, and are much more moral than we previously have suspected. Here are two opportunities to learn more about her findings.

  • Steven Colbert’s interview of Dr. Gopnik is funny and surprisingly educational.


Why You Should Turn the Television Off

A recent study suggests that family members and caregivers should turn off the TV set if no one is actually watching to limit hours of unintended exposure for young children. Researchers found that, on average, children in the U.S., age 8 and under, were actually exposed to nearly four hours per day of television that was left on as background noise. For younger children and African-American children, that exposure was more like five and a half hours a day on average; the total was six hours for children from the poorest families, according to the study by researchers from the University of Amsterdam, the University of North Carolina and the University of Iowa.


13 Things Babies Learn When We Read With Them

Ever tried to explain the importance of reading to babies? This article may help.

Baby Talk is a free, one-way listserv that is distributed every other week. Each issue features one or more resources, the majority of which are available to download at no cost.  To join the listserv, send an email with no message to subscribe-babytalk@listserv.unc.eduTo suggest resources, please contact Camille Catlett at or (919) 966-6635.