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Making Eye Contact With a Baby Changes Both Your Brain Waves, Study Says

Making Eye Contact With a Baby Changes Both Your Brain Waves, Study Says
From TIME - November 30, 2017

A new study has found that when adults and babies look at each other, their brain waves sync up. This creates what researchers call a joint networked state that facilitates communication between the two of them.

The study, while smalljust 17 babies in one experiment and 19 in the otheralso found that babies vocalize, or try to communicate, more when this joint networked state is in effect. Researchers believe that the babies neural synchronization is kicked up a notch by an adults gaze. Neural synchronization may provide a mechanism by which infants construct their own earliest social networks, says the study.

It is already known that adults communicate more effectively when they are neurally synchronized. This is partly why face-to-face conversations are much less likely to be misunderstood than conversations over text, or even over the phone. It s also known that when parents and babies interact, other aspects of their behavior can fall into sync, including their emotions and heart-rate. This study suggests that brain activity also synchronizes.

For the study, researchers at the Baby-LINC Lab at the University of Cambridge in the UK showed 17 babies videos of adults singing nursery rhymes. In the first video, the singers were looking straight at the babies. In the second they werent, and in the third, their heads were turned but their eyes were directed towards the infant.

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