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Infant Language Development Is Related to the Acquisition of Walking

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The present investigation explored the question of whether walking onset is related to infant language development. Study 1 used a longitudinal design (N = 44) to assess infant locomotor and language development every 2 weeks from 10 to 13.5 months of age. The acquisition of walking was associated with a significant increase in both receptive and productive language, independent of age. Study 2 used an age-held-constant study with 12.5-month-old infants (38 crawling infants; 37 walking infants) to further explore these findings. Results from Study 2 replicated the differences in infant language development between locomotor groups. Additionally, a naturalistic observation of parent-infant interactions (20 crawling dyads; 24 walking dyads) revealed that language development was predicted by multiple factors in the social environment, but only for walking infants. Possible explanations of the findings (e.g., social, cognitive, neurological) are discussed, and topics for future research are highlighted.

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