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Contact: Valene Marshall
National Science Foundation

Baby Smiles Provide Clues to Healthy Development

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Caption: 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. With support from the National Science Foundation, University of Miami psychology professor Daniel Messinger and his colleagues are learning more about child development and social interaction by studying how moms, dads and babies respond to each other. "We believe that through interacting, babies learn early social rules, such as when to take turns with their vocalizations, when to smile at the same time," says Messinger. "It's by smiling at the same time as their mothers, the baby responding to the mother and the mother responding to the baby, that babies develop a sense of shared social emotion."

Credit: Marsha Walton, Science Nation Producer

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