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Baby Smiles Provide Clues to Healthy Development – Science Nation

Baby Smiles Provide Clues to Healthy Development – Science Nation


MUSIC♫ KIMBERLY LARONT: Hi, cutie pie. MILES O’BRIEN: Four-month-old
Timothy and his mom, Kimberly Laront, may look like they’re
just doing what moms and babies do. DANIEL MESSINGER: So what I’m
trying to do is get his attention right to this camera. MILES O’BRIEN: But with support
from the National Science Foundation, Psychology Professor
Daniel Messinger and his colleagues at the University of
Miami are watching closely to learn more about healthy child
development, analyzing a baby’s every smile, coo and eye
movement. DANIEL MESSINGER: We believe
that, through interacting, babies learn early social rules:
when to take turns with their vocalizations, when to smile at
the same time. MILES O’BRIEN: In this
experiment mom and baby play, then mom stops. DANIEL MESSINGER: We want to
see what the baby does, how the baby either chooses to try to
re-engage the mom or maybe uses that time to look away and
disengage. And then they’ll start playing again. MILES O’BRIEN: They precisely
measure both the mom’s and the baby’s facial expressions. DANIEL MESSINGER: The key for
us is to use those measurements to better understand how
interaction occurs. And so what’s happening here is the mom
is smiling more than the baby, and then she peaks right there. MILES O’BRIEN: Messinger says
being comfortable looking away from mom is one sign of healthy
development. DANIEL MESSINGER: As they move
towards six-months of age, will become increasingly interested
in looking at things that are not the parent. MILES O’BRIEN: Moms
love the research with their baby-scientists. BIANCA GRAVES: It’s really cool
to be able to be involved in something like this and
know that he was able to contribute to science. DANIEL MESSINGER: I think the
neatest part of this all is using developing technology to
understand what mothers and babies already understand, which
is each other and how to respond to one another. MILES O’BRIEN: Messinger and
his team also work with babies at high risk for
autism, those with a sibling already diagnosed. DANIEL MESSINGER: So, finding
children who are at risk, who are beginning to show behaviors
that might be indicative of the development of symptoms allows
us to refer those kids to appropriate intervention
earlier. MILES O’BRIEN: From the mouths
of babes, insights to put kids on track for a healthy future.
For Science Nation, I’m Miles O’Brien.

Comments (2)

  1. I really liked your video. Hope to connect more here & maybe you'll view some of my clips. Blessings to you. – Tara

  2. Nice video. Smiles Matter. 🙂

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