Babies shown to have an ulterior motive when smiling
Babies may have an ulterior motive when they smile.
According to a recent study, they tend to grin in order to cause a similar reaction in others. They also appear to time their smiles to maximize the response while, overall, trying to minimize the number of times they actually have to do it themselves.
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The study states, "By the time infants reach four months of age both mothers and infants time their smiles in a purposeful, goal-oriented manner. Mothers consistently attempted to maximize the time spent in mutual smiling, while infants tried to maximize mother-only smile time."
To arrive at these findings, researchers used a robot resembling a toddler to interact with undergraduate students.
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The device had been programmed with data gleaned from a previous study which identified the timing and frequency of mothers and their babies smiling at each other.
During the experiment, random smiles did not result in as strong a response as those that were timed for maximum effectiveness.
Researchers do note, however, that it is unknown if babies are acting consciously or why this behavior even happens.
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