Fascinating: Language Exposure Must Be Live, Not Recorded

Infants exposed to a Mandarin-speaking adult for less than 5 hours (25-minute sessions over 4 weeks) were "able to distinguish phonetic elements of that language." Very impressive. But infants exposed to a similar amount of speech delivered over DVD could not. Fascinating. General-audience article here (via The Old New Thing)

My guess is that there's a difference-in-kind to the type of attention that infants pay humans to the type of attention they pay brightly flickering screens. It would be interesting to see the effect of exposure to, say, a guy in a big purple talking dinosaur suit. Or is the key ingredient perhaps, non-verbal facial communication (eyes and so forth)?

I guess I can avoid "Offtopic" by slotting this under "AI"...