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Language is a crucial part of what makes us human. How do we acquire this remarkable ability? Are we born with some knowledge of basic language structure, or is it all learned? To answer these questions Jenny Saffran, a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin, studies the experts — infants themselves. Saffran has pioneered experiments demonstrating how infants recognize statistical patterns of syllables, bringing new perspectives to theories of cognitive development and language acquisition. Beyond the laboratory, her work has been featured in the Netflix series Babies. Learn about her important research in this ITS series event.
Presented with the Initiative for the Theoretical Sciences and the Center for the Physics of Biological Function, a joint effort of The Graduate Center and Princeton University.
View the Netflix trailer for Babies.