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Trending Stories Report for 21 May 2015

Trending news releases with the most views in a single day. Topics include: gun regulation, psychology and altruism, big data, threats to coral reefs, extra-terrestrial life, personalized diets, metabolic syndrome and heart health, new drug target to treat arthritis, and archeologists find oldest tools.

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Good Speech in Kids Leads to Stronger Reading and Writing Skills

“During the preschool period, children see and interact with a variety of print at home, in the community and at daycare or school,” says Kaitlin Vogtner Trainor, speech language-pathologist at Loyola University Health System. “This exposure to print builds phonological awareness skills, the recognition that words are made up of separate speech sounds, which leads to stronger reading and writing skills later in life.”

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Is Baby Talk Bad?

“Sometimes baby talk is associated with nonsense words and sounds and even distorts sounds of words, providing inaccurate models of the infants and developing child, this is not encouraged,” says Kathleen Czuba, speech language therapist, Loyola University Health System. “Research in the field of child development and speech and language acquisition instead recommends the use of ‘parentese.’ This type of speech has been shown to positively support the development of speech and language.”

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Is Your Child Communicating the Right Way?

“Challenges with speech and language are likely to have an impact on the child’s overall development including in the areas of socials skills, academia and even can impact a child’s behavior,” says Kathleen Czuba, speech-language therapist, Loyola University Health System. “The earlier a child's speech and language problems are identified and treated, the less likely it is that problems will persist or get worse.”

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Awe May Promote Altruistic Behavior

Inducing a sense of awe in people can promote altruistic, helpful and positive social behavior according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

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Hard to Understand, Harder to Remember

Studies have shown that individuals with hearing loss or who are listening to degraded speech – think of a loud room -- have greater difficulty remembering and processing the spoken information than individuals who heard more clearly. Now researchers are investigating whether listening to accented speech similarly affects the brain's ability to process and store information. Their preliminary results suggest that foreign-accented speech, even when intelligible, may be slightly more difficult to recall than native speech.

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Baby Talk: Babies Prefer Listening to Their Own Kind

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A McGill University/UQAM research team has discovered that 6-month-old infants appear to be much more interested in listening to other babies than they are in listening to adults. The researchers believe that an attraction to infant speech sounds may help to kick start and support the crucial processes involved in learning how to talk.

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Toddlers Understand Sound They Make Influences Others, Research Shows

Confirming what many parents already know, researchers at Georgia State University and the University of Washington have discovered that toddlers, especially those with siblings, understand how the sounds they make affect people around them.

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Carrot or Stick? Punishments May Guide Behavior More Effectively Than Rewards

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When it comes to rewards and punishments, which is more effective — the carrot or the stick? A simple experiment devised at Washington University in St. Louis suggests that punishments are more likely to influence behavior than rewards. The results, which stem from a study involving 88 students at the university, are available online in the journal Cognition.

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Popular Electric Brain Stimulation Method Detrimental to IQ Scores

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A new University of North Carolina School of Medicine study shows that using the most common form of electric brain stimulation had a statistically significant detrimental effect on IQ scores.