Science at Cal - Language Development Across Communities and Cultures
In this talk, Dr. Mahesh Srinivasan will present recent work from his lab that challenges two broad claims within the field of developmental science: First, that there are “optimal” methods for speaking to one’s child; and second, that parents from lower socioeconomic-status backgrounds sometimes lack knowledge of these methods, thus warranting parenting training. He will begin by presenting studies that address whether the experience of poverty itself—above and beyond factors like parenting knowledge—may suppress parents’ speech to their children. His findings suggest that financial scarcity may impact how anybody would speak to their child, motivating the need for policies that address systemic inequities. Then, he will discuss research which assesses children’s ability to learn from overheard speech (ambient speech that is not directed to a child), which is a main form of children’s early experience with language in many communities around the world. His findings suggest that children can learn from overheard speech, and may not need to be spoken to often in order to learn words on a “normal” timeline. He will discuss the theoretical and practical implications of his findings.
Event Type: 
Genetics & Plant Biology Building
Saturday, March 12, 2022
Event Sponsor: 
Event Speakers: 
Dr. Mahesh Srinivasan