Petitto in the Media

Media on Bilingualism, Neural Processing of Language, and Animal Communication.  Sample Media and Scientific Talks Appear Below. Items are not in chronological order. Please scroll down page fully.

University of Hong Kong Public Lecture (2015) – Science of Learning Discoveries about the Role of ‘Visual Sign Phonology’ and Reading (YouTube)

CNN (2015) – Vital Signs with Dr. Sanjay Gupta: A Neuroscientist’s Quest to Understand Language (Video)

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Gallaudet Today Magazine (2014) – Signing Creatures Workshop: New Frontiers in Visual Learing (PDF)

Clerc Center Webinar, May 2014: “What the Eyes Reveal About the Brain: Advances in Human Language Acquisition-Insights from Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) and the Brain and Language Laboratory for Neuroimaging (BL2)” (Webinar Page)

Gallaudet Interview and Video Story (2012) – Bilingualism and the Brain: Paving The Way For Groundbreaking Research in Bilingualism (Video)

Gallaudet Publications (2012): Revolutions in the Science of Learning – A New View from a New Center (Odyssey Article) and Paving the Way for Groundbreaking Research in Bilingualism (Gallaudet Today Article)


Shalinsky, M., Kovelman, I., Berens, M., Petitto, L. A. (2009). Exploring Cognitive Functions in Babies, Children & Adults with Near Infrared Spectroscopy. Demonstrating a method of acquiring and analyzing fNIRS data to help standardize the field and enable different fNIRS labs worldwide to have a common background. Journal of Visualized Experiments

When Chimpsky Speaks – People Listen. The Daily News, December 26, 1975. Nim Chimpsky is 2 years old and is learning sign language. Nim lives on a 13-acre estate in Riverdale. Every weekday he is driven into Manhattan…  Article

Nim Chimpsky: A Life That Was Rich Beyond Words, by Laura Ann Petitto, The Washington Post, March 18, 2000. Laura Ann Petitto celebrates Nim’s life and his enduring impact on her and her family in the official Obituary that she wrote by special invitation from The Washington Post. Article

The brain: How children learn language. (2010). The Toronto Star newspaper takes a look into Laura Ann Petitto’s state-of-the-art brain imaging lab and her team’s exploration of the child’s developing brain. Article

“Stone Deaf” Laura Ann Petitto & Nim Chimpsky. The film of a play, Stone Deaf (2006), written and directed by Deaf and hearing students in the Deaf Studies department at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), and produced by CSUN Professor Genie Gertz. Video

Learning language is child’s play. (2008). As the high-tech, red-and-blue sensors strapped to the side of her head send waves of light across her brain, lab manager Karen Lau looks straight ahead and reads off the monitor: “Fod- Lush- Feap.” Article

Maximum Science. For any parent it’s an unforgettable moment the day an infant child says its first word. But how does a human baby actually acquire language… YouTube Video

Left Hemisphere Cerebral Specialization For Babies While Babbling. Whether baby babbling is fundamentally linguistic (absorbing the elements of language) or just exercising motor activity (practicing the mechanics of mouth movement) has never been effectively addressed. Until now… Web Supplement

Language Rhythms in Babies’ Hand Movements. Babbling sounds like “ba, ba, ba” universally uttered by healthy babies at around 7 months have attracted intense scientific fascination, as baby babbling has been understood to mark the developmental moment when a young child embarks on the road to producing language… Web Supplement

PNAS Speech-like cerebral activity in profoundly deaf people while they are processing signed languages: Implications for the neural basis of all human language. For more than a century we have understood that our brain’s left hemisphere is the primary site for processing language, yet why this is so has remained more elusive… Web Supplement

Babies’ ‘ga-ga’ a sign of learning language, not exercise. A baby’s babbling isn’t just a random exercise in mouth control. It’s a step that prepares the young for speech and language… Article

OELA Summit II: Revolutions in Education and Language. U.S. Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisitions. Lecture Slides

Does Learning Languages Make Kids Smarter? Laura Ann Petitto, Peter Gazzellone and Ellen Bialystok discuss the effects of learning languages. YouTube Video