While leaning over a cot and smiling at their newborn, most parents don’t know that their child can’t understand their emotions.
There is a really interesting study conducted by the researchers at the Institute of Psychology at the University of Oslo (Norway) and the University of Uppsala (Sweden) that involved two- to three-day-old babies.
This study has shown that the maximum distance for a newborn to distinguish if you are angry or happy is 12 inches (30 cm). If the distance increases to 24 inches (60 cm) or beyond, the image becomes so blurred that the baby is not able to distinguish emotions on the face.
The scientists used video recordings of faces that changed their emotional expressions constantly. At first, the videos were shown to adults to ensure that it’s easy to recognize the recorded emotions.
How babies see us at various distances
Then, the same recordings were shown to newborns: their reaction to the people’s facial expressions in the video was an indicator if they could see the image or not. Generally, babies were randomly responding to the picture placed beyond the distance of 12 inches (30 cms), but at the shorter distance, the number of correct responses increased.
According to professor Svein Magnussen, newborns are able to imitate facial expressions of adults from the first days of their life. But, this doesn’t mean that they can actually understand what a particular expression means.
So, if you want a baby to see you, just lean closer.