Today’s Learning Quotient Question: June 22, 2012
Q. True or false: Parents of young children should be careful to speak clearly and avoid saying “um” or “uh.”
A. False. Research shows that toddlers actually use hesitations and stumbles in adults’ speech (known as “disfluencies”) to learn language more efficiently. These verbal fumbles are not just fillers—they convey the information that the word to follow is likely to be novel or unfamiliar, serving as a kind of signal to kids that we’re about to tell them something new and that they should pay close attention.
Further reading: Kidd, Celeste, et al. Toddlers use speech disfluencies to predict speakers’ referential intentions (2011). Developmental Science, Volume 14, Issue 4. Read the abstract here.
About your Learning Quotient: Research on the science of learning demonstrates that it’s not some innate intelligence that determines how well you learn, but how much you know about how learning works. Instead of IQ, think LQ: your Learning Quotient. Each day on the Brilliant Blog I’ll be offering a question meant to test your LQ—and an answer meant to raise it. A full-fledged Learning Quotient Quiz is in the works, so stay tuned!