Why Babies Smile!

Why Babies Smile!

Do you ever wonder what's going through your baby's mind when she smiles at you? Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, think they know. Their study, published in PLOS ONE, suggests that babies who are smiling are attempting to make whomever they're interacting with smile back -- all while the infants exert as little effort as possible. As the study explains, "By the time infants reach 4 months of age both mothers and infants time their smiles in a purposeful, goal-oriented manner. In our study, mothers consistently attempted to maximize the time spent in mutual smiling, while infants tried to maximize mother-only smile time." In fact, a press release notes, researchers found that babies use sophisticated timing in order to get what they want. Researchers first looked at a previous study that observed face-to-face interactions of 13 moms and their babies when the infants were aged 4 to 17 weeks. By using an algorithm to "reverse engineer," they were able to determine the babies' goals based on their behavior. (PLOS One)


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