Talk: Born to speak - the human drive to learn language

06 July 2024 16:15 - 16:45 The Royal Society Free Watch online

This event is part of the Royal Society's Summer Science Exhibition 2024.

We communicate all the time, using language to share and learn complex ideas – but why do we do it? In this talk, Professor Saloni Krishnan will explore her recent research revealing that both adults and children find word learning intrinsically enjoyable and actively seek it out. This behaviour sets up apart from our closest evolutionary cousins, who don't show the same drive to communicate. 

Experiencing intrinsic reward from learning words is linked to a memory advantage and can create a positive cycle of learning. Saloni is currently investigating how this relationship between reward and language learning is different in neurodivergent children who face challenges with language development. 

Professor Saloni Krishnan is a developmental cognitive neuroscientist whose research focuses on brain differences in childhood communication disorders, such as DLD (developmental language disorder) and dyslexia.  

She is the Director of N-CoDe lab, or the Neuroscience of Communication Development lab, based in the Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, leading a team focusing on investigating the links between motivation and language learning. She is a committee member of the British Psychological Society’s Developmental section and a founding member of the UK Young Academy.  

Attending the event

This talk will be held in the Kohn Centre on Saturday 6 July 2024, 4.15pm — 4.45pm. 

  • Free to attend, no ticket required
  • The room has limited capacity, so we recommend that visitors arrive at least 10-15 minutes before the talk. We operate a first-come, first-served policy
  • This talk will take place in person at the Royal Society and will also be livestreamed on the Royal Society YouTube channel
  • Live subtitles will be available in-person and virtually
  • Suitable for everyone
  • Travel and accessibility information and details on planning your visit - contact us directly to arrange any specific accessibility requirements
  • Food and drink will be available for purchase at our onsite café

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