UW Today


June 13, 2016

Success in second language learning linked to genetic and brain measures

students sitting in the quad at UW

A new study by researchers at the University of Washington shows that the final grades that college students received in a second-language class were predicted by a combination of genetic and brain factors.


May 10, 2016

Brain pattern predicts how fast an adult learns a new language

Hello in different languages

Some adults learn a second language better than others, and their secret may involve the rhythms of activity in their brains. New findings by scientists at the University of Washington demonstrate that a five-minute measurement of resting-state brain activity predicted how quickly adults learned a second language. The study, published in the June-July issue of…


April 25, 2016

Music improves baby brain responses to music and speech

Children playing with musical toys. Isolated on white background

Rock your baby in sync with music and you may wonder how the experience affects her and her developing brain. A new study by scientists at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) shows that a series of play sessions with music improved 9-month-old babies’ brain processing of both music and…


April 4, 2016

Bilingual baby brains show increased activity in executive function regions

Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, UW

Many brain studies show that bilingual adults have more activity in areas associated with executive function, a set of mental abilities that includes problem-solving, shifting attention and other desirable cognitive traits. Now new findings reveal that this bilingualism-related difference in brain activity is evident as early as 11 months of age, just as babies are…


March 21, 2016

Better safe than sorry: Babies make quick judgments about adults’ anger

Baby looks at people fighting, frightened

Adults often form fast opinions about each other’s personalities, especially when it comes to negative traits. If we see someone argue with another driver over a parking space, for instance, we may assume that person tends to be confrontational. Two new research studies with hundreds of 15-month-old infants demonstrate that babies form similar generalizations about…


November 2, 2015

Children’s self-esteem already established by age 5, new study finds

stock photo of children dressed as superheroes

By age 5 children have a sense of self-esteem comparable in strength to that of adults, according to a new study by University of Washington researchers.


September 30, 2015

Math and me: Children who identify with math get higher scores

How strongly children identify with math (their math “self-concept”) can be used to predict how high they will score on a standardized test of math achievement, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Washington.


August 24, 2015

To get girls more interested in computer science, make classrooms less ‘geeky’

shutterstock_177302954

Women lag behind men in the lucrative computer science and technology industries, and one of the possible contributors to this disparity is that they’re less likely to enroll in introductory computer science courses. A new study of 270 high school students shows that three times as many girls were interested in enrolling in a computer…


July 27, 2015

Babies’ brains show that social skills linked to second language learning

an example of gaze shifting

New findings by researchers at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) at the University of Washington demonstrate for the first time that an early social behavior called gaze shifting is linked to infants’ ability to learn new language sounds.


April 8, 2015

Game played in sync increases children’s perceived similarity, closeness

IMG_8609

What helps children who have just met form a connection? A new study shows that a simple game played together in sync on a computer led 8-year-olds to report a greater sense of similarity and closeness immediately after the activity. Children who played the same game but not in a synchronous way did not report…


November 17, 2014

Major brain pathway rediscovered after century-old confusion, controversy

Drawing of brain

A scientist looking at MRI scans of human brains noticed a large fiber pathway that seemed to be part of the network that processes visual information. He just couldn’t couldn’t find it in any of the modern textbooks.


October 7, 2014

Toddlers regulate behavior to avoid making adults angry

A toddler reacts after an adult has expressed "annoyance" at the behavior of another adult.

UW researchers have found that children as young as 15 months can detect anger in other people’s social interactions and then modify their own behavior.


August 25, 2014

Learning by watching, toddlers show intuitive understanding of probability

A toddler tries the probability test.

UW researchers have found that children as young as 2 intuitively use math concepts to help make sense of their world.