Tickling a baby’s toes may be cute, but it’s also possible that those touches could help babies learn the words in their language.

Research from Perdue University shows that a caregiver’s touch could help babies to discern individual words in a continuous stream of speech. “We think of touch as conveying affection, but our recent research shows that infants can relate touches to their incoming speech signal.” said Amanda Seidl, an associate professor of speech, language and hearing sciences who studies language acquisition. “We found that infants treat touches as if they are related to what they hear and thus these touches could have an impact on their word learning.” Watch Seidl discuss her research in this video