Does “Baby Einstein” actually make kids smarter?

Nope:

In recent years, parents in the United States and worldwide have purchased enormous numbers of videos and DVDs designed and marketed for infants, many assuming that their children would benefit from watching them. We examined how many new words 12- to 18-month-old children learned from viewing a popular DVD several times a week for 4 weeks at home. The most important result was that children who viewed the DVD did not learn any more words from their monthlong exposure to it than did a control group. The highest level of learning occurred in a no-video condition in which parents tried to teach their children the same target words during everyday activities. Another important result was that parents who liked the DVD tended to overestimate how much their children had learned from it. We conclude that infants learn relatively little from infant media and that their parents sometimes overestimate what they do learn.

Source: “Do Babies Learn From Baby Media?” from Psychological Science, September 2010

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