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Baby Meets Big Brother For Science 188

dylanduck writes "A baby is to be monitored by a network of microphones and video cameras for 14 hours a day, 365 days a year, in an effort to unravel the seemingly miraculous process by which children acquire language. I guess that's what happens when your pop works at MIT's Media Lab. Thankfully his parents can switch off the surveillance for 'private' moments and delete short scenes. All the footage is being classified by algorithms."
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Baby Meets Big Brother For Science

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @12:46PM (#15343304)
    There is not much more for a camera to record here (of the baby).

    The baby will make sounds constantly. More and more sounds as time progresses.

    The parents (video camera operators?) will from time to time notice sounds that sound like sounds they understand and respond very positively to these sounds.

    OH MY!!!!! I just heard the baby say XX OR XX OR XX OR XX (all references to daddy).

    All these will be thought to be something profound concerning the babies actions.

    But not due to the baby saying them, but because the baby's reaction to the parent who understands them and makes a HUGE ordeal of them.

    My daughter had 3 such moments. The first time she said the baby sounds for daddy each of the 3 languages my wife and I speak.

    We noticed and more importantly, the baby (our daughter) noticed we noticed.

    Babies make sounds all the time (some say of all languages), but parents largely define the importance of those sounds for the babies. The babies merely respond because they like the attention, especially positive, of parents who's faces they see all the time.

    I cant help but think this will teach these researchers more about how babies learn to accept new faces or events or actions as normal rather than how they learn languages.

"Well, social relevance is a schtick, like mysteries, social relevance, science fiction..." -- Art Spiegelman