One of the factors that parents learn early on is just how to make a baby laugh.
While science may have come late to the party, parents and families have been performing unofficial research since humans first evolved.
Mother and father go to great lengths to make their babies laugh and giggle. Not amazing as we tend to connect laughter with enjoyment and most parents want their babies to be happy more than anything else.
One of the first things that researchers have done in their recent analysis is begin to gather all this natural data jointly and look for styles in the results, hoping to find some common aspects that make all babies laugh.
These are – based to both parental experience and scientific research – the things most like to make a baby laugh
The age old game of ‘peek-a-boo’
High-pitched noises and parent’s laughing out loud
Being thrown up in the air and captured
Rotating round and suddenly stopping
Tickle games. Especially when you pretend to creep up slowly and then instantly tickle the baby
When the parent pretends to fall over or hit himself
Scientific Studies of Laughing Babies
One of the most wide-ranging research into the laughter of babies since the 1960s is run by Dr Addyman of the Center for Intellectual and Brain Development at the University of London, UK.
“Smiling and having a laugh are indices of our knowing of the world. Adults laugh at anything when they find it surprising or unusual; it is precisely the same for babies,” said Dr Addyman in a meeting for the Independent newspaper. “Finding out what makes babies laugh teaches us more usually about how humans recognize and respond to the world around them, and also the ways in which that can change.”
He is assured that there is a purpose behind the laughter of babies – that it is more than an automated response.
Dr Addyman believes that the root of laughter is in the baby’s emerging need to socialize and bond with others around her.
“I think that’s the best thing I’ve found so far. Laughing is about bonding and connecting with other people.”
But another study has come to a little bit different conclusions, indicating that the baby’s laugh is actually rooted in a response to doubt and fear. There is, as we all know, a fine line among surprise and shock.
But to better understand that theory, which we’ll look at next – first just consider the main things parents do, the most common games they play, to make babies laugh.