If you’ve ever looked at a new born baby and smiled only to be shocked when it smiled back all of a sudden – science now has the answer to the age old question of why they do it, and the answer is quite surprising.
Any parent will tell you (sometimes against your will) that the first time your baby smiles at you is one of the most magical moments in life.
But magical as it may be, no one has ever really understood why most babies attempt to smile so often and so early in their life when other animals (even primates) do not act quite in the same way.
Researchers at the University of California (San Diego) now believe they have the answer after completing a study of 13 mothers and their new born babies.
According to the study babies perceive smiling as a form of communication with whomever may be facing them because they often see smiling faces so they attempt to keep that form or “line” of communication open for as long as they can simply by smiling back.
But it seems that babies are actually a lot smarter than we give them credit for because the study found that over time, the would – on occasion – stop smiling even with their mother still smiling, only to resume the adorable face a short time later.
According to researchers this would be the babies testing the connection they have with the mother.
The study believes that when babies feel secure in the connection, they will act in this surprising fashion to “maximize wait times between smiles”, essentially trying to coax an emotional response from their parent.
So it seems that we now know that babies are not only little bundles of joy, they are also emotional manipulators!!!
The study did not provide any answers to the real question of “do babies know they’re smiling”?
Personally we think they didn’t do that just so they can run another study where they have to look at smiling babies all day!