Why do Babies Smile?
Smiling is something we all do generally from an early age and the frequency we smile at ourselves and others plays a strong roll in our social development. There’s a reason having nice teeth often ranks higher than many other physical traits when it comes to someone’s perceived attractiveness. Prescott Dentistry knows how important your smile is to you and everyone else, so we strive to keep your teeth healthy and beautiful! While we understand the importance of smiling in adults, teens, and older children, no one has truly understood the importance of or even the reason why babies smile. That is, until now.
Our understanding of why someone would smile is generally related to their happiness or the experiencing of a positive, joyful feeling. However, with babies, it seems smiling isn’t necessarily a sign of an emotional behavior. A recent study conducted by UC San Diego has indicated that smiling in babies can be better understood as a relational and social attempt to make it’s mother or another person smile. It appears that when babies smile, it’s with a goal in mind, to make the person they are smiling at smile back at them.
What’s perhaps even more interesting is how this study was conducted. As you see in the video above, developmental psychologists and roboticists worked together to create a “toddler-bot” that behaves like babies that have been studied and could interact with university students. The robo-baby was programed based on recorded interactions in a previous study where 11 out of 13 babies showed what appeared to be intentional smiling. The robot baby acted like the babies from the previous study and the students involved in the study ended up responding in the same way. The baby caused the students to smile a lot without even having to smile very much.
The study doesn’t explain why the babies have these goals, but it does appear to explain what the goal is, which is to get a smile in return. Our staff at Prescott Dentistry doesn’t specialize in babies, but we certainly hope to get a healthy, beautiful smile in return from your whole family after your appointment!