(KSNT/CNN) – University of Kansas researchers are working to unlock the key to child language development. Erin Jorgensen's baby daughter Ellie is at the KU Baby Lab and she's there to play with toys. "It's exciting for her to be a part of something that can benefit others in the future," Jorgensen said. KU Baby Lab researcher Brenda Salley observes Ellie. "We're really interested in how babies are communicating before they have words," Salley said. By observing how babies pay attention to toys, Brenda can learn how children communicate and develop language. "Babies will do things like they'll look at the toy and they'll look back at us to say, 'Wow! That was really cool.'" Salley said. "And they can't say that with words so they do that with their eye contact, with their gestures." Salley has babies watch movie clips to test their attention span, tracking their eyes and heart rate. "Heart rate slows down when we're in very focused attention, so we can know if babies are really paying attention and learning from what we're showing them on a screen," Salley said.
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