According to a scientific paper, boys talk more than girls during childhood, debunking the common belief that women have a language advantage over men early in life.
The results of the paper, published on Wednesday in the journal Eye Science after the largest study ever on the subject, came as a surprise even to its authors.
According to him, this may be the result of an important gender distinction that has emerged during the evolution of our species.
A team led by D. Kimbro-Oller of the University of Memphis in the US state of Tennessee used an algorithm to analyze a data set of more than 450,000 hours of uninterrupted audio from 5,899 newborns. This data set was recorded over two years using an iPod-sized device.
“To our knowledge, this is the largest sample of any study of language development,” Oler said in a statement.
Although young children do not speak, they make pre-speech sounds, such as grunts, grunts, vocalizations, and later word-like sounds such as ‘ba’ and ‘ga.’ These sounds are collectively called ‘protophones’ which ultimately give rise to correct words and sentences.
The idea has long prevailed in scientific circles that girls learn language earlier than boys, and it has also been hypothesized that girls make more vocalizations than boys in infancy.
However, the results showed that boys vocalized 10 percent more in the first year, followed by girls by seven percent by the second year.
Theory of Evolution
Differences emerged despite the fact that adult caregivers spoke more to girls than boys in both years.
One theory for this finding was that infant boys talked more because they were generally more active. But the data doesn’t back this up, as boys were more vocal than girls by about 16 months, but not more physically active.
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The team says their findings may instead fit into an evolutionary theory that suggests that infants make vocalizations as a signal of their well-being to their caregivers, who in turn feed back on them. Spend more energy and focus.
According to a large body of research, boys have a higher mortality rate than girls in the first year after birth, and thus it can be concluded that in the recent past boys who were more talkative were more likely to survive and pass on their genes. was more likely.
By the second year after birth, mortality rates drop dramatically in both sexes, and ‘specific indicators for both boys and girls decline,’ said Oller.
Oler plans to do more research in the future on how caregivers respond to infant communication.
He said, “We expect that hearing the sounds of the baby will instill feelings of compassion in the caregivers and they will take care of them more attentively.”