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Publication #FAR0403

Six Months to One Year: Intellectual Development1

Donna Davis2

Figure 1. 

A few years back, thanks to the advent of computer animation, filmmakers found audiences were entertained by the notion of understanding what babies might actually be communicating in the "Look Who's Talking" movie series. Were it so easy. While babies appear to have "dialogue" with one another and can get quite a conversation rolling with baby babble, experts say that babies are still working on "mama," "dada," and "no" until they're between 8 and 15 months old. Still, at around nine months, babies are steadily increasing their ability to communicate. At this point they can probably respond to a few words such as their name, "bottle," "no," or "ball." That babble they offer in return is their way of developing their first words, so it's important to play dialogue games with babies. As far as they know, they are talking to you. Talking back to them will encourage babies to develop their vocabulary.

Babies will begin to explore their environments at this stage as well. They are curious and will spend a lot of time investigating things. They now understand cause and effect and the concept of object permanence. Before now, if a baby cannot see an object, the object does not seem to exist for him or her. This is the time to start playing peek-a-boo, to bring out the pop-up toys, and to read books with big pictures. These activities will further stimulate their intellectual development.

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

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This document is FAR0403, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 7 and published November 2007. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Donna Davis, senior producer, Family Album Radio, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.