UW News

Patricia Kuhl


July 17, 2017

Bilingual babies: Study shows how exposure to a foreign language ignites infants’ learning

UW student Jinnie Yi works with a toddler at one of the participating infant education centers in Madrid. A study by the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences shows that infants and young children can develop bilingual skills through interactive learning.

  For years, scientists and parents alike have touted the benefits of introducing babies to two languages: Bilingual experience has been shown to improve cognitive abilities, especially problem-solving. And for infants raised in households where two languages are spoken, that bilingual learning happens almost effortlessly. But how can babies in monolingual households develop such skills?…


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.


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…


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.