Babies know when to imitate them – and they perceive it as a sign of friendship, according to a new study.
Swedish research suggests that the imitation game is a baby’s favorite way to interact with the adults, making them more engaged and likely to approach an adult.
In the experiments, six-months of age infants looked and smiled more, and tried to get the adults more often during the closing of the mirroring of their actions.
The infants also responded to being imitated with ‘behavior test’ – actions that will encourage adults imitator to imitate his time.
The imitation, on behalf of the adults helps to nourish a baby’s sensitivity to others and could be a driving force of the driving principles of social cognition, the research team report.
Scroll down for video
Six months of age, infants recognize when adults imitate them, and to perceive imitators as easier, according to a new study from the University of Lund in Sweden
‘Imitating the babies seems to be an effective way to capture their interest and relationship with them,” said lead author Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc, a researcher from the University of Lund and the conductor of the experiments.
‘The mothers were quite surprised to see their babies with joy to participate in games of imitation with a strange, but also impressed by the babies’ behaviors.’
At six months of age, as a way in which children interact with others is through the very basic of intentional imitation of the actions of others.
Scientists have speculated by frequent exposure to be imitated, babies learn about the cultural norms and the routines of how to interact with another human being.
Other theories have suggested that the shared actions, such as reflected the physical behavior, they are later accompanied by shared feelings and intentions.
The experience of being imitated, it is generally thought to be a driving force of social cognition, but research in the form of the empirical evidence is scarce.
The infants looked and smiled more, and tried to get to the adult more often, at the close of the mirroring of their actions
For more information, Professor Sauciuc met children between the ages of five to six months, in their own homes, while 12 other children were excluded from the results of the study due to a crying baby’, or other interruptions.
Professor Sauciuc, then interacted with them in four different ways, by means of body movements and facial expressions – mimic all the babies made as a mirror, I imitated as a mirror reverse, mimicked only the bodily actions of the babies, while still keeping a passive face, or responded to with different actions completely.
This last option, known as ‘contingent responding’, is how most parents would respond to their baby, and in general can be described as a normal interaction between two human beings.
Only as a statement of a conversation may depend on what is said above, when a baby or needs something, a father will react accordingly – a form of contingent responding.
In general, filmed experiments showed that the infants looked and smiled more and tried to get to the adult more often, during the first approach, the close mirroring of their actions.
Imitating the babies seems to be an effective way to capture their interest and relationship with them
Evidence of behaviour – that is the hallmark of high level of imitation recognition – occurred at higher rates in the imitation of the conditions of the non-imitative conditions.
For example, if the baby hit the table and the researcher imitate the action, the baby, then hit the table several times, while carefully to the answers of the researcher.
Even when the investigator showed a passive face without emotion as mimic, the babies still seemed to recognize that they were being imitated – and still responds with more behavioral tests.
All the babies in the study, but one showed evidence of behaviors, and the majority of the evidence of the fighting was accompanied by a smile.
“This was very interesting – when someone actively is evidence that the person who is imitating them, is generally seen as an indication that the imitated individual is aware that there is a correspondence between their own behavior and the behavior of others,” said Sauciuc.
In general, the study indicates that six months of age infants can distinguish between the different levels of interactions, and imitations, in particular, are a source of pleasure, and maybe even a social understanding.
The study has implications for research on children in the perception of bodily communicative signals and their awareness of others’ intentions towards them.
It also helps that the address of a ‘lack of convincing evidence’ that young infants reliably distinguish imitation from the interactions of other types of contingent responses.
‘Showing that six months of age, infants recognize when they are being imitated, and that imitation has a positive effect on the interaction, we begin to fill this gap,’ said Professor Sauciuc, who gave a toy to each family that participated.
The research has been published in the journal PLOS One.
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO THE BABY BABBLE?
Scientists claim that talking to babies gives them advantages in life far beyond a larger vocabulary.
They say that chatting to babies under one year of age helps them to make friends, as well as making them brighter because they are more able to discover the world around them.
There is some debate about how important it is and also if adults must use their normal voice.
Speaking more slowly, using a sing-song voice, and using strange words are common when talking to small children, but beyond that, research has discovered that it can be harmful to a child.
Conflict of research says that the high tone of voice used when speaking to a baby is essential.
“Baby talk’ is considered by many to help with the early development of speech and language.
These are associated with the success in the development of reading, writing, and interpersonal skills, both later in childhood and later in life.
Long before they can speak clearly, babies understand the general meaning of what you’re saying.
This link is important in their development and happiness.
Other advice includes:
- Have back and forth conversations in baby talk
- Imitate vocalizations of the infant, such as “ba-ba’ or ‘goo-goo’
- Strengthen the communication with a smile and the mirroring of facial expressions.
- Imitate baby’s gestures as body language is important for your communication
- Smile often at your baby, especially when the child is involved in talking like a baby
- Look at the baby as the tot makes noises