Infants mimic mothers facial expressions

Thank you for visiting nature. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer. In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript. Processing facial expressions is an essential component of social interaction, especially for preverbal infants.

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Your newborn isn't mirroring your expressions

MOTHERS have long been aware that by the time their babies are 3 months old, they readily respond to and imitate such facial expressions as smiles, frowns and pouts. Experiments at the Mailman Center for Child Development at the University of Miami Medical School have now shown that such imitation occurs within the first day or two of life. The tests were conducted on 74 newborn babies whose mean age was 36 hours. Each baby was held upright by the experimenter with one arm around its torso, the other hand supporting its head. The experimenter's face was 10 inches from the baby's. Before each test the experimenter attracted the baby's attention by doing a couple of deep knee bends and producing two tongue clicks.
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Your baby isn’t as clever as you think

An overview of existing data on imitation in infancy suggests that changes in the direction of imitation research are underway. The widely accepted view that newborn infants imitate lacks supporting evidence. Instead, existing data suggest that infants do not imitate others until their second year, and that imitation of different kinds of behaviour emerges at different ages.
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For decades, there have been studies suggesting that human babies are capable of imitating facial gestures, hand gestures, facial expressions, or vocal sounds right from their first weeks of life after birth. But, based on new evidence, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on May 5, now say that just isn't so. After testing young infants repeatedly over their first couple of months, they found no evidence at all that very young infants are capable of imitation.
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