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D. Why Communicating with Your Baby Goes a Long Way

Narrator: This is Science Today. Children who used simple gestures to communicate as babies were found to perform better on standard I.Q. tests than those who did not learn these gestures. Linda Acredolo, a psychology professor at the University of California, Davis, has dubbed these gestures "baby signs" because they can be used to communicate like a form of sign language.

Acredolo: For example, one of the most popular for parents and babies is some kind of simple gesture for "more". Babies need more goldfish crackers or more juice. And so if they have a specific gesture like putting their fingertips together, tapping them together or one finger to a palm, everyone knows that that means more.

Narrator: Although these signs did benefit children's I.Q. in the long run, Acredolo doesn't want parents to think of this as a better baby gimmick.

Acredolo: But parents can really rest assured that they can take advantage of all that baby signs offers in terms of parent-child interaction without worrying about I.Q. effects or learning to talk. This really promotes those two skills.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.