Anne Fernald

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Anne Fernald
Alma mater University of Oregon
Thesis Acoustic determinants of infant preference for "motherese" (1982)

Anne Fernald is an American psychologist, the Josephine Knotts Knowles Professor in Human Biology at Stanford University,[1] and has been described as "the leading researcher in infant-directed speech".[2]

Fernald specializes in children's language development, investigating the development of speed and efficiency in children's early comprehension in relation to their emerging lexical and grammatical competence. Recently, she has also begun to study language development in bilingual Spanish-English speaking children and children who are learning Spanish in addition to English. Her research has shown that infants prefer baby talk to adult speech and that it plays an important role in their language development,[3] and that baby talk has universal features that span multiple cultures and languages.[4][5] She has also studied the effects of television on infants, showing that young TV viewers echo the emotional responses of the actors they see.[6][7]

Fernald received a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Oregon in 1982,[8] where she studied under the mentorship of Patricia K. Kuhl. As well as her position as a psychology professor, Fernald has taken an administrative role at Stanford as Vice Provost for Faculty Development.[9] Her husband, Russell Fernald, is the Benjamin Scott Crocker Professor in Human Biology at Stanford.


  1. ^ Honors and awards for Humbio faculty 2009–2010, Stanford University, retrieved 2010-12-06.
  2. ^ Ashford, José B.; LeCroy, Craig Winston; Lortie, Kathy L. (2009), Human Behavior in the Social Environment: A Multidimensional Perspective (4th ed.), Cengage Learning, p. 253, ISBN 978-0-495-60169-2 .
  3. ^ Bizarre talk makes good tool, United Press International, October 1982 .
  4. ^ Maugh, Thomas H., II (February 17, 1992), "'Parentese': Universal Language", Los Angeles Times .
  5. ^ Nash, J. Madeleine (February 3, 1997), "Fertile Minds", Time Magazine .
  6. ^ Infants influenced by TV: study, CBC News, January 21, 2003 .
  7. ^ "Research shows TV influences infants’ behaviour", Daily Times (Pakistan), January 27, 2003 .
  8. ^ Anne Fernald's faculty bio.
  9. ^ Daley, Yvonne (March–April 1999), "Wanted: Female Faculty", Stanford Magazine .

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