Read the Beforeitsnews.com story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By BPS Research Digest (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Now:
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:
Total:

Why do children stick their tongues out when they're concentrating?

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.


Have you ever watched a young child perform a delicate task with their hands and noticed how they stick out their tongue at the same time? A new study is the first to systematically investigate this behaviour in four-year-olds. This isn’t just a cute quirk of childhood, the findings suggest, rather the behaviour fits the theory that spoken language originally evolved from gestures.

Gillian Forrester and Alina Rodriguez videoed fourteen 4-year-olds (8 boys), all right-handed, as they completed a number of tasks in their own homes. The tasks were designed to involve either very fine hand control (e.g. playing with miniature dolls or opening padlocks with keys), less fine control (e.g. a game of knock and tap, in which the child does the opposite to the researcher, be that knocking or tapping the table with their right hand), or no hand control (remembering a story).

The researchers studied the videos looking for how often the children stuck out their tongues during these different games, and whether they stuck them out towards the left or right side of their mouths.

All the children stuck out their tongues during the games and tasks, which supports past research with 5- to 8-year-olds that suggested this is a common behaviour. But crucially, the children stuck out their tongues more during some tasks than others, and most of all in the the knock and tap game. This goes against expectations (the researchers thought the fine motor control games would provoke the most tongue protrusions) but Forrester and Rodriguez argue their surprise finding makes sense in terms of the evolutionary history of language. They explain the knock and tap game involves rapid turn-taking, hand gesturing and structure rules – what you could think of as “the foundational components of a communication system” or the rudiments of language.

This fits with another result, which is that most of the kids’ tongue protrusions tended to be biased to the right, suggestive of control by the left brain hemisphere. The left side of the brain is the side that’s more dominant for language in nearly all right-handers, so again we have a suggestion that children’s gestural activities are associated tongue protrusions because of the tongue and hands sharing a link with language and communication. The researchers think that adults (presumably excluding Miley Cyrus) suppress their own tongue protrusions because of the cultural connotations of sticking out your tongue.

Taken together with past research that’s shown an overlap in the brain areas involved in speech and hand control, the researchers propose their new findings support the idea that the same communication system involves both the hand and the mouth, and that “hand and tongue actions possess a reciprocal relationship such that when structured sequences of hand actions are performed they are accompanied by spontaneous and synchronous tongue action”.

_________________________________

Forrester, G., & Rodriguez, A. (2015). Slip of the tongue: Implications for evolution and language development Cognition, 141, 103-111 DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2015.04.012

further reading
Why do children hide by covering their eyes?

Post written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.

The Research Digest is a free blog and email newsletter published by the British Psychological Society and written by Christian Jarrett. Also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



Source: http://digest.bps.org.uk/2015/06/why-do-children-stick-their-tongues-out.html


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!


Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at https://mitocopper.com M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at https://www.herbanomic.com M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at https://www.herbanomics.com M - F 9am to 5pm EST


Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

Report abuse

    Comments

    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    MOST RECENT
    Load more ...

    SignUp

    Login

    Newsletter

    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.