You read that right. Did you know that making eye contact with your baby is actually--at certain degree--important?
Research team from the University of Cambridge utilized 36 male and female babies to show whether a type of connection known to be applicable in adults has a similar effects during early age. So, they measured the electrical activity in their brains using an electrode-covered skull caps for electroencephalograph (EEG). This is to see whether the mothers' and children's electrical patterns would match during the activity.
They started with letting the baby watch a video of the replacement mother singing nursery rhymes--known to create a healthy emotional response from children. The "mother" either looked directly at the infants, away, or to the side, with their gaze locked on the babies. Results showed that it was during the third position, the side-on stare, that they've had the most synchronized brainwaves.
Now for the second experiment, a real person sung for them, either looking right at the infants or looking away. This time, whenever direct eye contact was made, their brainwaves become more in sync. Babies even vocalized more when direct eye contact was made! Moreover, those who seemed to be more fussy tend to create greater degrees of brainwave synchronicity.
This suggest that the synchronicity happens not because the baby sees something familiar; rather, due to one's urge to communicate. As to why this occurs, researchers are still uncertain. Moreover, it's also unknown whether adult men/fathers and young infants would illicit the same reactions.
The team also noted that these matching brainwaves aren’t examples of something more obscure. “We’re certainly not claiming to have discovered telepathy!” co-author Dr Sam Wass, an experimental psychologist at Cambridge, said in a statement.
Nonetheless, researchers suggest that the mother-child synchronicity may be how “infants construct their own earliest social networks," likely boosting communication, learning, and empathetic understanding.
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