Building a Coordinated Brain

Only 6 months later, the listening and speaking regions of the infant brain are active at the same time. This is just around the time babies are learning to babble. But the babies aren’t actually babbling while they are in the MEG. They are just listening silently to language sounds. It is as if the infant brain is practicing, trying to figure out how to produce all the sounds it hears every day. This pattern of brain activity suggests that the speaking and listening parts of the infant brain are beginning to work together. Over the past six months, connections between these two brain regions have grown. The connections have strengthened as the babies listened to language.


  • Axon
    output fiber of a neuron
    Cell body
    the neuron's processing center
    input fibers of a neuron
    Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
    a non-invasive brain imaging technique used to determine which regions of the brain are active
    cells located in the brain and throughout the body that are specialized to communicate messages
    the process of removing excess synapses
    Sensitive period
    a time in development when the brain is especially ready to learn a skill
    connection point between neurons