Wired By Words

The following news conference will take place in the Whidbey Room of the Westin Seattle Hotel, 1900 Fifth Avenue, Seattle, Washington.

It will occur at an international meeting devoted exclusively to the science of acoustics: the Joint 16th International Congress on Acoustics (ICA) and the 135th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), to take place between June 20-26 at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel and Towers and the Westin Seattle. A news release on the meeting can be found at http://www.acoustics.org/press_release.html

One of the most intriguing recent theories in psycholinguistics asserts that babies essentially form all the nerve-cell connections in the brain required to comprehend the sounds of their native language by the time they are a year old, even if they cannot yet vocalize their words. In an effort to understand further how the infant brain wires itself to incoming language information, Patricia Kuhl of the University of Washington (206-543-7974) will present new non-invasive electrical measurements of brain activity in 7-month-olds listening to sounds from their native language (3aSC2). Kuhl proposes that a baby starts out as a "language universalist," but by the first year it becomes a "language specialist," in which its nerve cells wire themselves to perceive distinctions between different types of sounds in its native language.


Please feel free to call Ben Stein of the American Institute of Physics at 301-209-3091. To read the abstracts of the paper mentioned in the news conference description, go to the ICA/ASA Meeting Abstracts Database (asa.aip.org/asasearch.html) and type in the paper code.


Please feel free to call Ben Stein at the meeting newsroom: 206-727-7617 and 206-727-7618. The newsroom will be located at the Blak

Contact: Ben Stein
American Institute of Physics

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