Baby Smiles Provide Clues to Healthy Development

Posted on February 7, 2013

Parents and babies smile, laugh and coo at each other, but scientists still have a lot of questions about how these interactions help infants develop.

"Parents tend to put a lot of emotional energy into these interactions," says University of Miami psychology professor Daniel Messinger. "And, the job of the baby is to do whatever they want, and they take that job very seriously."

Dr Messinger and his team set out to measure interactions between child and parent by using a facial recognition software to track and analyse the facial expression of both parties during play.

"One of the things we found is that when a baby looks away from the parent, it just means they are interested in other things, it doesn’t mean they are less interested in the parent. It just means they need to look around and see what else is going on," says Messinger.

This research and also hopes that by measuring the infant responds to interactions, it may also be possible to identify signs of autism spectrum disorder, thus enabling early intervention.

Category(s):Child Development

Source material from The National Science Foundation

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