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Date: 15 Aug 2018 | By: Arizona State University| Story Source: Arizona State University ~ Go to Original Article

The first few years of a child’s life are crucial for learning language, and though scientists know the “when,” the “how” is still up for debate. The sheer number of words a child hears is important; that number predicts school performance. In an upcoming study in Current Biology, published online Aug. 16, researchers at the Arizona State University Department of Psychology report an additional factor that is important for language: the predictability of the learning environment.

The study taught 2-year-old children novel words in predictable and unpredictable situations.

Predictability is useful for all kinds of learning, not just language. Researchers know