It is believed that babies cannot communicate effectively because they are unable to express their thoughts through words. For this reason, adults often underestimate their mental abilities.
It turns out, however, that science is vividly interested in the effective communicative abilities of babies and with the help of numerous studies proves that the brain of babies perceives and processes much more information than the eyes, for example.
Just a decade or two ago it was thought impossible for babies to understand the meaning of the words they hear in the first months after birth, today scientists say that infants understand some basic emotional concepts very well, such as disappointment, anger or joy. Scientists also claim that babies quite consciously sympathize with certain people in their environment, and that this is deliberate and not a random result.
What are the three main things that a baby’s brain is capable of that we parents might not suspect?
1. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EMOTIONS AND MIND
Researchers at the University of Southern California say that babies have very well-developed capacities for empathy that, until recently, the world’s scientific community had never even guessed about.
To prove this, the scientists performed a puppet show in front of two-year-old children. In it, one puppet leaves an object of value to it and moves away, during which time another puppet comes and takes the valuable object. Shortly thereafter, the first doll notices the absence and starts crying and getting angry. The children watching the performance are not only expressing their disappointment with what is happening on stage, but also clearly expressing their sympathy for the first puppet. Showing empathy puts children and their mental and emotional maturity at a pretty high level, scientists say and prove it through this experiment.
2. MOST ADULTS BELIEVE THAT BABIES ARE NONVERBAL BEINGS
This is not true!
Although babies cannot express themselves and express themselves through words, this does not prevent them from understanding more than we might assume. Not only that, babies and young children have the ability to take in a huge amount of information very quickly. Naom Chomsky argues that much of our vocabulary is innate. According to him, every human being carries within himself enormous speech and language abilities that begin to develop immediately after birth.
3. BABIES UNDERSTAND THE THOUGHTS AND BELIEFS OF THE PEOPLE THEY COME INTO CONTACT WITH
The evidence for this claim is based on an experiment called the Smurf Experiment. Through it, researchers have found that in a simple physical situation, infants have the ability to tell when another person will be surprised or disappointed by an outcome they did not actually expect. This proves that infants have a developed sense of anticipation and perspective taking, which until recently has rarely been associated with infant brain activity.
The results that lead scientists to draw their conclusions are the fruit of a change in the methodology of studying babies and what they can do and realize.
Previous, older, research has encouraged children to demonstrate their knowledge and skills through expression in dialogue or motor skills. Current research focuses on children’s natural responses, the product of unconscious behavior, which give a much more accurate estimate of their brain activity.
Recording even the smallest or insignificant responses of a child, such as staring, listening, biting lips, sucking a finger, and relating them to facial expressions, help researchers understand the extent to which infants’ brain activity is developed even before they develop the actual tools to demonstrate emotions and feelings themselves.
And as Johnny Depp says, “The only creatures that are sufficiently developed from birth and gifted to express pure love are dogs and babies.”
And as we would add, ” They understand everything, they just can’t tell us.”
And yes, babies are a celebration for parents, and rightly so – they are the greatest joy and sweetness in their lives.
But for the first time in years, we can accept the claims of scientists and see for ourselves the vast riches of the infant mind.
What other surprising insights await us inside these tiny heads?