Babies from bilingual families are better at switching their attention

Babies from bilingual families are better at switching their attention from one task to another, study finds

Scientists showed young babies up to nine months various pictures in sequence  Those in bilingual families were 33 per cent faster at redirecting their attentionBabies found that those from bilingual homes are able to change their focus ‘more quickly and more frequently’ than those from monolingual homes 

Parents hoping to nurture children that can effortlessly flit between different tasks should teach them a second language, research suggests.  

A study found babies raised by bilingual families have a supple mind that can divert attention to different tasks much easier than homes with just one language spoken.

The effects can be seen in babies as young as seven months old, scientists claim.  

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Scientists studying babies found that those from bilingual homes are able to change their focus ‘more quickly and more frequently’ than those from monolingual homes

Scientists studying babies found that those from bilingual homes are able to change their focus ‘more quickly and more frequently’ than those from monolingual homes.

Dr Dean D’Souza, a senior lecturer in Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University and lead author on the study, said: ‘Bilingual environments may be more variable and unpredictable than monolingual environments – and therefore more challenging to learn in.

‘We know that babies can easily acquire multiple languages, so we wanted to investigate how they manage it.

‘Our research suggests that babies in bilingual homes adapt to their more complex environment by seeking out additional information.’

A team of scientists, led by Anglia Ruskin University, used eye-tracking technology to record the gaze of 102 babies, aged between seven and nine months.

Of them, exactly half (51) were raised in bilingual homes and half from monolingual homes.

A team of scientists, led by Anglia Ruskin University, used eye-tracking technology to record the gaze of 102 babies, aged between seven and nine months. The team found that babies from bilingual homes were 33 per cent faster at redirecting their attention towards a new picture when it appeared on the screen (stock)

A team of scientists, led by Anglia Ruskin University, used eye-tracking technology to record the gaze of 102 babies, aged between seven and nine months. The team found that babies from bilingual homes were 33 per cent faster at redirecting their attention towards a new picture when it appeared on the screen (stock)

The researchers said they used infants within that age group ‘to rule out any benefits gained from being able to speak a second language’. 

The team found that babies from bilingual homes were 33 per cent faster at redirecting their attention towards a new picture when it appeared on the screen.

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